Dance creation, presentation and education are supported and promoted by the Festival’s dedicated board of directors, headed by Chairwoman Karen Wilson, newly hired longtime volunteer and board member Executive Director Joy Dittberner, and Founder and Artistic Director Jodie Gates. Jodie, a former ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet, also serves as vice dean and director of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Upon her retirement from the stage, Jodie established Laguna Dance Festival in 2005–as a result of her vision, Laguna Beach has played host to top dance companies from near and far: American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Parsons Dance, CorbinDances, Diavolo, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Trey McIntyre Project, Ballet West, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Backhausdance, UCI Etude Ensemble, The Groovaloos, San Francisco Ballet, Les Ballet Grandiva, BalletX, Sacramento Ballet, Breed, Los Angeles Ballet, ABT II and Hubbard Street 2.
Besides being an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists, Laguna Dance Festival offers master classes throughout the year for area dance students. It has reached thousands and exposed new audiences to world-class professional dance in a beautiful setting through its onstage festival performances and informal dance presentations such as First Thursdays Art Walk events.
On Thursday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m., the dance floor at [seven-degrees] will sizzle as Laguna Dance Festival celebrates its 11th anniversary with the Cuban-themed gala ¡Bailamos! It will be an exciting night of mojitos, food, and dance – including red-hot salsa performed by Oksana Platero from Dancing with the Stars and her husband Jonathan Platero from So You Think You Can Dance.
Also performing at the gala will be Jeremy Zapanta and Tess Lane, both of California Ballet, and Nikki and Ethan White, contemporary ballet dancers who finished as finalists on the CBS show Live to Dance.
For information and tickets ($200 each) please visit www.lagunadancefestival.org.
In September, two of the world’s hottest dance companies, Malpaso Dance Company from Havana, Cuba and San Francisco’s Alonzo King LINES Ballet, will give two performances each during the Laguna Dance Festival September 10–13. Tickets for all four onstage September performances will go on sale in June.
Laguna Dance Festival 2015 Schedule
Thursday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m. – ¡Bailamos! 11th Anniversary Celebration Gala at [seven-degrees]
Thursday, Sept. 3 – Free dance performance during Laguna Beach First Thursdays Art Walk; details to be announced
Sept. 5 and Sept. 6 – Master classes for intermediate to advanced dancers; details to be announced
Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. – Malpaso onstage performance; pre-performance talk at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. – Malpaso onstage performance; pre-performance talk at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 12 – Malpaso technique class and repertory workshop; details to be announced
Saturday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. – Alonzo King LINES Ballet onstage performance
Saturday, Sept. 12 – Post-performance Artists’ Reception; ticketed event at Laguna Playhouse
Sept. 13 – Alonzo King LINES Ballet master class; details to be announced
Sunday, Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. – Alonzo King LINES Ballet onstage performance. Pre-performance talk at 1 p.m.