Larvita LeGrand McFarquhar
Larvita Legrand McFarquhar has recently purchased Southwest School of Dance from Charlotte Wendel.
She is purchasing a new, large facility in Marshall so there will be two very large studios with sprung floors, mirrors and barres and a huge gymnastic room. She is very well qualified to teach dance and gymnastics and the studio will be in excellent hands.
She was a former student of SWSD, and went on in her career to act and danc in professional musical theater productions and was a scholarship student with Gus Giordano. The links below also provide a review of some of her work
Larvita has been trained in gymnastics and has worked along side the USA National Olympic Coaches Marta Karolyi, Valero Liukin, as part of the Tops Program (Talent Opportunity Program).
Charlotte Wendel has retired and has sold ownership of Southwest School of Dance to Larvita LeGrand McFarquhar. She will continue to teach classes for SWSD in the coming year.
At age 4, Charlotte Wendel began her dance training at the School of the Virginia Ballet, Newport News, Virginia, where she continued until graduation. She received a dance degree from James Madison University along with a double major in History. She danced professionally with the Virginia Ballet for 3 years and danced one year with the Richmond Ballet Company where she was partnered by Don Schey of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. During the off-season, Ms. Wendel danced in many professional theater productions including West Side Story, Forum, Brigadoon, George M., and the Common Glory.
She has studied with Ted Shawn, Josefina Garcia, Myra Kinch, Robert Joffrey, and is a recipient of the Josefina Garcia scholarship, which honors Mexico's foremost ethnic and modern dancer.
In 1983 she opened Southwest School of Dance in Marshall. 2016 marked her 38th year of teaching dance and her 33rd year at Southwest School of Dance. During her professional career, Ms. Wendel has received several choreography awards and her dancers have won many national championships and special awards. Many of her dancers have gone on to professional careers in the world of dance. In 1993 her Children's Ensemble performed in Russia, Estonia, and Latvia. They were invited to perform at the 'Oktyabrsky' or October Hall in St. Petersburg, which is considered a 'high honour'. In 2000, her dancers were invited by the Mexican government to take part in the World Dance Conference in Cancun, Mexico. Her dancers have performed at Disney World in Orlando Florida in 1999 and 2002, and at the 1998 Altanta Olympics, both by special invitation.
Ms. Wendel was active in bringing the arts community together to form the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council and later in bringing together those interested in dance to form the Prairie Dance Alliance. She was chosen by the PDA Board as the Artistic Director and Choreographer for the 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2015 productions of the 'Nutcracker', the 2003 and 2005 productions of 'Babes in Toyland' and the 2009 production of 'Alice in Wonderland'.