Friday June 8, 2012 at 8pm
Saturday June 9, 2012 at 8pm

Two days of percussive dance performances and masterclasses. Special guest teachers, live ‘trad’ acoustic music.

The Beat Retreat concert is the culmination of an intensive, weeklong cooperative learning project for percussive dancers in Appalachian flatfooting, tap, body percussion, Irish sean-nós, and Cape Breton step dance traditions. Dancers and musicians from Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, DC, West Virginia and Massachusetts will bring a unique mix of traditional and original percussive dance to Afton’s Hamner Theater, promising an entertaining evening for audience members and providing inspiration for both wallflowers and fans of dance.

The cast of the Beat Retreat has an impressive collective resume, including performances with The Chieftains, Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers, Nickel Creek, and Lunasa. Many members of the group have toured internationally, and performed at venues in the US, Canada and Europe, including The School At Jacob’s Pillow, The Newport Folk Festival, Song of the Mountains for PBS, The Smithsonian Institute, The Kennedy Center, and the London production of Riverdance.

Both Good Foot Dance Company and Beat Retreat founder and Artistic Director Matthew Olwell have strong ties to the local community. Matthew grew up in Nellysford, and after touring for nine years with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, returned to Virginia, where he co-founded Good Foot Dance Company with partners Emily Oleson and Meg Madden. Currently living in Maryland, Matthew maintains a connection to Nelson County and Charlottesville, with yearly performances and Smiling Mountain Dance Intensive; Good Foot Dance Company’s annual summer camp that takes place at the Rockfish Valley Community Center.

Part professional development seminar, part performance, the Beat Retreat is a meeting ground where performers, teachers, and practitioners of traditional dance inspire each other and further their skills and artistry through peer-to-peer collaboration. Additionally the Beat Retreat creates new opportunities for percussive dancers, helping to shape the methodology of the participants as percussive dance redefines itself in the world of the 21st-century performing arts.

Join Good Foot Dance Company as we present the Beat Retreat. Performances Friday June 8 (pay what you can) and Saturday June 9 ($10/adults, $5/children). Dance Masterclasses are Saturday June 9th from 12pm-3pm at The Rockfish Valley Community Center. For tickets call the box office: (434)361-1999 For workshop information visit

Also a Workshop:
Smiling Mountain Summer Intensive: Trad Dance Theater takes place the following week, June 11-15, 2012, with Matthew Olwell & Emily Oleson. More information is available here (PDF, 220K) and here.

Booking/Press Contact:
Matthew Olwell
8313 Eastridge Ave Apt 2 Takoma Park, MD 20912, c(410)212.0867