Davis & Elkins College Highland Dancer Gabriele Pealer is harnessing her dreams and taking her talents to a higher level. The Elkins resident was recently selected to perform with two troupes made up of dancers from throughout the world.
This month, Pealer will be among the cast of Estes Park International Tattoo in Estes Park, Colorado. Before year’s end, she’ll begin preparing for performances in the Highland Echoes 2022 tour and assisting with a promotional video, part of which was filmed on the D&E campus.
“The companies will be a huge amount of fun to participate in and I look forward to connecting with the other dancers who will be coming from around the country and world,” Pealer said.
The International Tattoo includes performances – marching bands, Highland dancing and bagpipers – by an array of talent from the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Pealer will perform as part of the Estes Park International Tattoo Highland Dance Team directed by Crystal Benton. During the festival, she will also participate in a Highland dance competition.
Highland Echoes is a nonprofit organization that promotes Scottish culture and traditions. Since 2018, organizers have produced a show featuring Highland dancers and a full band. Pealer was one of 25 dancers chosen to perform in the 2022 event in conjunction with the largest gathering of Scottish organizations in the world, The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. The production tells the story of Scotland in the 1700s and the movement of the Scottish people from then to now.
A sophomore at D&E, Pealer has studied a variety of dance forms throughout her life. Highland dance won her heart and she applies many of its attributes to other areas of her life.
“I have found a haven in this Celtic community that promotes both athleticism and artistic expression,” Pealer explained. “Now, having progressed in ability and pursuing other passions – including college coursework – I enjoy the inspiration of using this trained technique for company shows, the competition I can attend here and there, and small dance troupes like the D&E College Highland Dancers. These projects create magnificence in large performances and strong inter-connectedness among members in smaller groups. That is one of my favorite achievements: to inspire and promote personal growth in other dancers.”
As a member of the Davis & Elkins College Highland Dancers, Pealer performs and competes throughout the area. In addition, she performed with the West Virginia Highland Dancers under the direction of Katy Dillon for several years and has won awards throughout the East Coast. In 2019, she was third runner-up at the Southeast Regional Championship in Savannah, Georgia. She dances at the premier/championship level and earlier this year earned her Highland Dance Teaching Certification.
“I’ve seen Gabby work very hard for these opportunities and I’m thrilled that all of the extra time she’s put into her dancing is paying off,” Dillon said. “She’s shown tremendous dedication to the sport of Highland dancing.”
Pealer is the daughter of Monica and Ray Pealer of Elkins.