How Does NC #dancelocal? Western NC Edition

April 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

One of the coolest things about North Carolina is the variety of landscapes and regions throughout the state. This week we are moving away from the beach and into the mountains as we explore what it’s like to #dancelocal in Western North Carolina! We spoke with awesome artists–Lindsey Kelley, Emily Daughtridge, Alex Smith and Laurie Atkins–about dancing in Asheville and Boone.


Small | Experimental | Edgy

with Lindsey Kelley

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

NCDF: What is it like to dance here?

Lindsey:  Asheville is my dance “safe place.” The community is extremely supportive of local artists, which encourages us to do our thing with little to no pressure.  I am self-motivated, so dancing and creating here works for me.  I have the freedom to dance how I like with whom I like, which is an amazing feeling as an artist.  Being a choreographer, I have had continuous opportunities to create and perform my work in the area since I moved here 3.5 years ago.  That makes me very happy and fulfilled.


The Diana Wortham Theatre photo courtesy of

Some great places to take class in Asheville are Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance in the River Arts District, Asheville Ballet, and Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre. The Diana Wortham Theater is a beautiful professional theater in town and Lindsey’s favorite. The BeBe Theatre is an intimate, black-box style venue, which is very popular for dance and theater.

NCDF: Are there any other exciting arts things going on?

Lindsey:  Oh tons!  Many great local bands and musicians are here, Doc Aquatic being one of my personal faves.  Lots of local potters, jewelers, thespians. There are also many local arts festivals, which adhere to multiple art forms.  The Asheville Fringe Festival, {Re} Happening, LEAF and the list goes on… pretty exciting!

The Asheville Fringe Festival photo courtesy of

The Asheville Fringe Festival brings together art of all kinds and aims to provide artists with the opportunity to explore, collaborate and perform. They will be accepting applications for the 2015 festival in July!

From Latin to contact improvisation to Contra dancing,  Asheville is quite eclectic in its wide range of arts activities available for the community. shares information about all types of dance events, classes, workshops and performances and is updated daily! What a great source of dance information for the Asheville community.

NCDF: What is your favorite non- dance related thing about living here?

LindseyOh man, I love to eat!  Asheville has some incredible local restaurants.  We are really quite fortunate to have such good eats.

Biltmore Estate photo courtesy of

Biltmore Estate photo courtesy of

Some popular eats in Asheville are Tupelo Honey Cafe, The Market Place, Red Stag Grill, The Swag and The Grove Park Inn. There is also the option of eating at the historic Biltmore Estate!

Lindsey Kelley Photo by Quinn Batson

Lindsey Kelley photo by Quinn Batson


Enthusiastic | Burgeoning | Potential

with Laurie Atkins, Emily Daughtridge and Alex Smith

NCDF: What kind of exciting arts-related things are going on in Boone?

Laurie: Boone has a rich cultural history of traditional Appalachian music and dance that continues to thrive. The university [Appalachian State University] supports a performing arts series that brings in outside touring artists and internally has active and visible art, music, theater, and dance departments. Summer festivals include Horn in the West and Appalachian Summer Festival.

There are so many organizations in Boone making a difference in the community! Emily mentioned The Hayes School of Music, Boone Healing Arts, Neighborhood Yoga, Northwestern Dance Studios, Studio K and Boone Country Dancers among many other organizations.

The Now & Next Dance Mentoring Project  is an organization which aims to develop leaders in dance and movement education through workshops, teacher training programs, support for the creation of new dance works, and online mentoring for college dance majors, adolescent girls, and professional dance artists. The Watauga Arts Council  is making the arts a presence (as their slogan says) in the Boone community. Their building “ArtSpace” is equipped with 4 galleries, 9 classrooms and an abundance of arts-related activity space.

NCDF: Is there one dance/style that seems to be emerging?

Emily: The dance scene is quite diverse.  All of the following forms (and probably more) are happening regularly in Boone: Modern Dance, Ballet, African Dance, Conscious/Contemplative Dance, Contra Dance, Clogging, Flat Footing, Buck Dancing, Liturgical Dance,  Shag, Swing Dance, Salsa, Ballroom, Belly Dance, and Capoiera.

Jane Bowers in work by Emily Daughtridge. Photo by Greg Williams

ASU student Jane Bowers in “Fuerzas Vitales” by Emily Daughtridge. Photo by Greg Williams

NCDF: Where are your favorite places to dance in town?

Laurie: Classes and studio space at Appalachian State University. There are a few local studios that offer a variety of adult classes, however as a full-time faculty member, I tend to stay on campus. Valborg Theatre is a beautiful space on campus that hosts the NC Dance Festival and other school productions. The Turchin Center, a visual art gallery, has been used in the past for informal dance showings in relation to First Fridays.

ASU students in Emily Daughtridge's work. Photo by Greg Williams

ASU students in Emily Daughtridge’s work. Photo by Greg Williams

NCDF: What is it like to dance here?

Alex: There is dance performance that takes place here, and there are emerging dance artists being cultivated within the university system.  The challenge in this area, as I see it, is the facilitation and support for artists to develop and share their work in the local community, beyond the university. 

Alex is on a mission along with a group of local independent artists to change the work space and performance venue challenges that dancers face in Boone. This group is working to create a multi-use facility that is flexible, user-friendly, and can accommodate classes, rehearsals and performances of local and regional artists working in the performing and live arts. Be looking for more information about this exciting project coming soon! Click here to watch a video exploring Alex’s passion for this new project.

NCDF: what is your favorite thing about dancing here?

EmilyI find Boone to be a community of warm-hearted, creative people in a beautiful, scenic setting that inspires me to move.

LaurieMaking connections and collaborating with great people; there doesn’t seem to be just one dance style emerging but rather an intention in focus on creative process.

Emily Daughtridge enjoying the great outdoors in Boone

Emily Daughtridge enjoying the great outdoors in Boone

Sadly, Western North Carolina is the last stop on our virtual tour around the state.  But don’t worry; you can check out the NCDF live as we tour around NC during our 24th season starting in September! We have so enjoyed learning about how awesome it is to #dancelocal in different communities throughout our great state!  A big thank you to everyone who shared their hometown dance stories and pride with us. Keep checking our blog and be sure to keep telling us how you #dancelocal!


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