Davis & Elkins College Establishes Highland Dance Group




Davis & Elkins College Establishes Highland Dance Group

Student Performers Eligible for New Scholarship


Elkins – The Scottish heritage of the West Virginia Highlands will soon be more prevalent in the area with the establishment of the Davis & Elkins College Highland Dancers. The competition and performance group will be made up of D&E students who will be offered scholarship opportunities as well as instruction to further refine their skill.

While recruiting efforts are currently underway for dancers who can earn up to a $5,000 scholarship per year based on audition performance, two incoming freshman have already joined the troupe. Eliana “Ellie” McCutcheon, a certified Highland Dance Teacher, will serve as the group’s instructor and will be joined by Charlotte Layman, who competes at the premier level. Both have been dancing with the West Virginia Highland Dancers, under the direction of Katy Dillon, since elementary school. 

“Highland dance has not only developed me into an athlete, but it has more importantly shaped me into the person I am today,” said McCutcheon, who is also a recipient of the full, four-year Senator Leadership Scholarship. “When I decided on attending Davis & Elkins College I was eager to start my journey. However, when the idea of starting a competitive Highland dance group became reality, I realized that my dreams were coming true. I can’t wait to be a part of this wonderful opportunity of being a Davis & Elkins College Highland Dancer.”

The opportunity to continue performing or competing in Highland dance after high school is an incentive for many dancers who have put years into the practice, Dillon says, adding that there are few colleges and universities in the United States that offer such a program. An assistant director of the Davis & Elkins College Upward Bound program and 2003 graduate of D&E, Dillon will serve as adviser to the D&E Highland Dancers.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for dancers who have put so much work into achieving the levels of competition,” said Dillion, who became West Virginia’s first certified Highland dance teacher in 1998 while she was still in high school. “My main goal has always been to spread the love of Highland dance and to get more people involved. So, this is the perfect time with Ellie and Charlotte coming in as freshmen.”

For Layman, the new group offers a second chance at continuing her love for Highland dance.

“This is sort of my coming out of retirement as I haven’t competed in a few years because of injuries,” Layman said. “Now I’m ready to take these past 11 years as a West Virginia Highland Dancer and continue on as a Davis & Elkins College Highland Dancer. I am so excited and thankful for this opportunity.”

The formation of the Highland dance group at D&E comes after the recent announcement of the new West Virginia Highlanders of Davis & Elkins College Grade V bagpipe band which also offers a scholarship of up to $5,000 per year based on audition performance.

Together, the two student groups will help carry on the tradition of Scottish music and dance that has been based in Elkins for decades and has represented the area throughout the nation. The College is home to the West Virginia Highlanders of Davis & Elkins College, a pipe and drum band that dates back to 1947 as the official band of the H.W. Daniels Post 29 American Legion. In 1990, the Highlanders became affiliated with the College and now performs and competes at various events locally and nationally. The West Virginia Highland Dancers was formed in 1998, performing along with the bagpipe band and competing nationally. The group also hosts, on the College campus, the only Highland dance competition in West Virginia as part of the Mountain State Forest Festival.

For additional information on scholarship opportunities for the Davis & Elkins College Highland Dancers or West Virginia Highlanders of Davis & Elkins College Grade V, call Admission Counselor Patrick McKay at 304-637-1325 or email admission@dewv.edu.

 Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.



Eliana “Ellie” McCutcheon and Charlotte Layman are the first two students to join the Davis & Elkins College Highland Dancers.



Davis & Elkins College, in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the West Virginia Human Rights Act is an equal opportunity institution that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, including sexual and gender-based harassment, assault, and violence, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, gender identification, or genetic information  or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.  This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, admission to and enrollment with the College, including, but not limited to, recruitment, selection, hiring, placement, transfer, promotion, training, compensation, benefits, discipline, termination, educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, scholarship and loan programs, housing, athletic and other College-administered programs and activities. For inquiries regarding Title IX and/or 504 compliance and/or the filing of a complaint, contact the College’s Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator using the information below or by filing a report online at http://www.dewv.edu/form/title-ix-incident-report-form.


Davis & Elkins College Title IX/Section 504 Coordinators


Amy Kittle

Title IX Coordinator/Section 504 Coordinator

Compliance & Ethics Officer

Halliehurst, 2nd Floor

(304) 637-1277 │ kittlea2@dewv.edu

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