Family time at festival

Tracey family members volunteer with Goose Route Dance Festival

Tracey family members volunteer with Goose Route Dance Festival

July 17, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Colleen Tracey, 47, and husband Krister, 46, of Shepherdstown, believe in doing things as a family.

As artists themselves - both have master's degrees in visual arts - they also believe in supporting the local arts.

So when the first Goose Route Dance Festival was held in 2001, the Traceys attended performances with their children, Pelle, Fiona and Mac Fergus, who are now 14, 11 and 7, respectively.

This year, the festival runs today through Sunday, July 26, at the War Memorial Building, 102 E. German St.

Because the Traceys are friends of Kitty Clark, founder of the event, the family decided in 2003 to do more than just watch - they wanted to volunteer.

"We've known (Clark) for the last 10 years," Colleen said. "... All the kids took dance classes with her."

Colleen has also taken classes with Clark. "I came away as what Kitty calls a 'dance junkie,'" Colleen says with a laugh. "I've been really hooked ever since."


Since then, the Traceys have volunteered to help Clark set up for the annual festival.

"We do what ever is needed," Krister says.

From carrying risers to putting down the special Marley dance floor to running errands, the Traceys have made volunteering their time for Goose Route a summer tradition.

"We're really able to transform the space," Colleen says.

Krister says working together as a family, they are able to see how their work can transform one of the rooms of the War Memorial Building into what's known as a "black box theater" for the concerts.

Clark says she's thankful for families such as the Traceys.

"We totally depend on volunteers, and (the Traceys) are excellent volunteers," she says.

Additionally, Colleen has collaborated with Clark on other Goose Route productions such as "Breath" and "Remember."

Krister says since the beginning of the festival, as a family they've attended the shows and really liked the shows. Setting up has become a tradition, he says.

As parents and artists, Krister says they have made a conscious effort to expose their children to art as much as possible.

"It allows us to support the arts in community and have fun working together," he says.

Last year, Pelle, who will be a freshman at Jefferson High School this year, became a paid member of her tech crew.

"It's been a lot of fun," he says.

His job is helping to set up such things as lights, sound board, props and video. Pelle says his behind-the-scenes work on the tech crew has actually led to other opportunities for him doing tech work for others.

As an up-and-coming musician with his band Book of Machines, Pelle says Goose Route has helped with his musical career. He has learned how to operate a sound board.

Pelle says he looks forward to the annual family event.

"We know when it gets to be this time of year, that it's Goose-Route time and we put everything aside," he says.

He says Goose Route is an event that families should do together.

"That's really what Goose Route is all about - it's a community event and a family event," he says.

Fiona, who will be a sixth-grader this fall at Shepherdstown Middle School, agrees, saying it's fun hanging out with the family.

"I just love watching the dancers," she says. "Their stamina is amazing."

Fiona says she looks forward to the shows every year. "I love the costumes and the music," she says.

No member of the Tracey family is too young to start helping out. Even Shepherdstown Elementary School second-grader Mac Fergus has a job: carrying things.

"It's kind of fun doing it together," he says.

If you go ...

WHAT: Goose Route Dance Festival modern dance performances

WHEN: 7 p.m. today and Friday, July 24; 3 and 7 p.m. Saturdays, July 18, and July 25; 3 p.m. Sundays, July 19, and July 26.

WHERE: War Memorial Building, 102 E. German St., Shepherds-town, W.Va.

COST: $10 to $15

CONTACT: For tickets and more information, call 304-876-6751, or go to

WHAT: Master classes in modern dance for adults and teens

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays, July 18 and 25, and Sundays, July 19 and 26.

WHERE: War Memorial Building, 102 E. German St., Shepherds-town, W.Va.

COST: $12 for individual class or $40 for all four

CONTACT: Call 304-876-6751, or go to

Free events for kids

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Money shouldn't be a barrier to exposing your children to modern dance.

Goose Route Dance Festival, which runs today through Sunday, July 26, offers free dance classes and family shows.

At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 18, visiting dancer Hannah Seidel will teach "Dynamite Dancing" at the War Memorial Building, 102 E. German St. The class is geared for ages 5 to 9 and will show kids how to choreograph their own dances.

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 23, "Water Dance" will take place at the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library Children's Department in Martinsburg, W.Va. Visiting dancer Ashley Thorndike will use dance as a way to help kids discover the importance of water in their lives and the life of the planet.

Family shows are at 10:30 a.m. today and Friday, July 24, at War Memorial Building. Children and their parents are invited to experience dance by watching dress rehearsals. The "dance scavenger hunt" will be played where kids and their parents look for specific dance movements and respond with a foot stomp, hand clap or special yell.

All events for the children are free. For more information, go to or call 304-876-6751.

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