A dancer-choreographer with the Dayton (Ohio) Contemporary Dance Company will conduct two days of Master Classes for St. Johnsbury Academy students Dec. 7-8.

Marlayna Locklear, who has also performed with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, and several other groups, will teach Academy Dance students about the Horton Technique, which emphasizes a whole body, anatomical approach to dance, including flexibility, strength, coordination, and body and spatial awareness to enable unrestricted, dramatic freedom of expression, Academy Dance instructor Marianne Handy Hraibi said.

Developed by the late Lester Horton, a highly acclaimed American dancer, choreographer, and teacher, the technique incorporates elements of Native American Folk Dance, Japanese arm gestures, and Afro-Caribbean influences.

"The Horton Technique is considered a significant training technique in modern dance," Handy said. "Companies such a as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre require training in the Lester Horton and Martha Graham Techniques and Ballet. Horton technique is taught nationwide in top university and conservatory dance programs."

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is Ohio's oldest modern dance company and "one of the largest companies of its kind between Chicago and New York City," according to the company's website, www.dcdc.org.

Rooted in the African American experience, "It is an exceptionally fine company with exquisitely trained dancers," Hraibi added.

Academy students have attended Dayton Contemporary concerts at the Flynn Theatre in Burlington and Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center. The students' Dartmouth experience also included a private conversation with Hraibi's friend, Sherri Williams, the company's lead dancer.

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