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Thursday, March 18, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Ballet (TWB) is proud to announce that Katrina Toews, director of The Washington Ballet @ THEARC, will be presented with the Bethel College Young Alumnus Award on March 29, 2010. Ms. Toews will lead a group of her students from THEARC in a performance Sunday, March 28, at 7:30 PM, and receive the Young Alumnus Award in convocation Monday, March 29, at 11 AM, where she will speak on Leaps and Bounds: From Goessel, Kansas, to Washington, D.C. While both events are free and open to the public, an offering will be taken at the Sunday performance to help cover travel costs.

“I’m excited about this trip not only for the exposure of bringing urban and rural students together, but also for the opportunity to dance together,” said Ms. Toews. “Dance has not only shaped my life, but it has also allowed me to better understand myself and my relationship with others. Our students will bring their love of ballet and the discipline that it engenders to extends beyond studio walls and into everyday life. I can’t wait see the many ways that the youth will find commonalities.”

The performance will feature a new work by Ms. Toews, highlighting the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at Bethel College. The ballet includes five dancers, one of whom portrays Dr. King, and will be performed to an audio recording of Dr. King’s original 1960 speech. The only surviving recording of this speech was recently found in the barn of a Bethel College student and was swiftly preserved and sent to the King Foundation. The four sections of Ms. Toews’ dance each highlight the struggle for freedom and the opportunity to reach and fight toward the unknown.

Along with Ms. Toews, the students will be accompanied by teachers Paula Brown and Margaret Williamson, as well as two parents throughout this four-day engagement. During this time, students will also be able to interact with local youth while taking workshop classes and presenting another small program at a local church. Additionally, Ms. Toews, Ms. Brown and Ms. Williamson will teach master classes and perform a lecture demonstration at Ballet Wichita, Nancy Hervey School of Ballet and Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts.

A native of Kansas, Ms. Toews has been directing The Washington Ballet @ THEARC since its inauguration in 2005. The program, an outgrowth of TWB’s flagship community engagement programs, was designed to bring world-class ballet instruction to residents in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8 along with continued education programs in partnership with the District of Columbia schools. Prior to assuming this position, she had a fulfilling career as a dancer and choreographer by performing with many companies including her own, K2 Dance Company.

The Awards Committee of the Bethel College Alumni Association names one or more Young Alumnus Award winners each year. The Young Alumnus Award recognizes character and citizenship, achievement or service rendered, honor and recognition received. The recipient must be 39 years of age or younger and present a convocation program for Bethel students, faculty and staff.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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