School children from Morgantown and surrounding areas are invited to attend special matinee performances of the West Virginia University Spring Dance Concert, as well as a puppetry production based on HomersThe Odysseyat the Creative Arts Center during the months of March and April.

According to Margaret McKowen, chair of the WVU Division of Theatre and Dance, the division will offer special matinee performances of Dance Concert 2004 on March 4 and 5 at 10 a.m. in the CAC s Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre.

Drawing from the techniques of modern, ballet and jazz performance, WVU students, faculty and guest artists will present choreographed pieces that feature members of WVU s Orchesis Dance Ensemble, as well as innovative and experimental works of movement theatre.

McKowen said the matinee performance on Thursday, March 4, will be a specialfree previewthat will be open to schools on a first come, first served basis. Due to limited space, schools interested in attending the preview should call the Mountainlair and CAC Box Office at (304) 293 SHOW to make reservations.

Matinee performances ofThe Odysseywill be held at 10 a.m. on April 6, 20 and 23 in the Gladys Davis Theatre.

Based on Homers classic Greek poem, this story will delight young audiences with visions of monsters, sailors, underworld characters and beautiful creatures. It is directed by Joann Siegrist, director of the WVU Childrens Theatre and Puppetry Program.

These matinees provide the perfect opportunity for local schools to schedule field trips to the Creative Arts Center,McKowen said.We offer special discounts for groups of 20 or more and many schools bring bag lunches so that the children can have lunch after the show without leaving the building.

McKowen said the division will also offer its popularUpfront and Backstagepresentations upon request during performances ofThe Odyssey.These presentations begin prior to the show and allow audience members to meet the people behind the scenes, tour backstage, and visit the shops where scenery, props and costumes are built.

The tours will show children how we make magic out of the most ordinary objects,said McKowen, who is also a costume designer.

Schools interested in attending matinee productions of Dance Concert 2004 orThe Odysseyshould contact the Mountainlair and CAC Box Offices at (304) 293 SHOW . For tickets.

For more information about the productions, call the WVU Division of Theatre and Dance at (304) 293 4841 ext. 3120 or e-mail Margaret.McKowen@mail.wvu.edu .