Laguna Dance Festival to hold Carnival! - a different kind of 'Brazilian Blowout'

A dancer strikes a pose at last year's outstanding party at [seven-degrees]. Photo: Leslie Cunningham
A dancer strikes a pose at last year's outstanding party at [seven-degrees]. Photo: Leslie Cunningham

For ten seasons, Laguna Dance Festival has brought world-class classical and contemporary dance to intimate stage venues in Laguna Beach, an arts-loving seaside resort town. On Thursday, June 12, that milestone will be celebrated with a high-spirited, Brazilian-style party, "Carnival!" The event is set for 6:30–10 p.m. at [seven-degrees] at 891 Laguna Canyon Road. Admission includes buffet dinner, wine, entertainment by internationally recognized ballroom dancers, a rollicking band called Brasil Brazil, and surprises that will make for a memorable evening. Reservations are required. Tickets are $200 per person and can be purchased online at www.lagunadancefestival.org Phone: 949-715-5578.

Laguna Dance Festival’s landmark tenth season performance lineup will be announced at the party, and the best seats at the Laguna Playhouse shows will be available that evening. September performance tickets go on sale online the following day; they will be available at the Playhouse box office later in the summer. All performances will be held at the intimate, 420-seat Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road.

Event chair Nancy Meyer, one of the organization’s founding board members, has served continuously since the festival’s inception. They are working with event vice chairs Josephine Lee and Debbie Naudé to plan the June 12 bash along with board president Joy Dittberner and the board’s other five members.

Tickets can be purchased starting June 13 at www.lagunadancefestival.org or by phone at 949-715-5578. Tickets will go on sale later in the summer at the Laguna Playhouse box office, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach (949-497-2787). Playhouse box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday, and until 8 p.m. on Playhouse performance days.  For additional information, call the Laguna Dance Festival office at 949-715-5578.

About the Festival

Since 2005, the dance festival has presented 35 companies, 55 performances, 30 master classes and more than 40 free events.

Artistic director Jodie Gates, who founded the Laguna Dance Festival in 2005, is a former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Recently Ms. Gates was appointed vice dean and director of the prestigious USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and will be building bridges between the dance school and the Laguna Dance Festival in the coming years. The California native moved to Laguna Beach upon her retirement from dancing and, seeing dance as the missing piece in the mosaic of the city’s artistic offerings, embarked on creating a dance festival. Companies presented by the Laguna Dance Festival since 2005 have included American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Parsons Dance, CorbinDances, Diavolo, Trey McIntyre Project, Ballet West, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Oregon Ballet Theatre, BalletX, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Backhausdance, UCI Etude Ensemble, The Groovaloos, San Francisco Ballet, Les Ballet Grandiva, Sacramento Ballet, Breed, Los Angeles Ballet, ABT II, and Hubbard Street 2.

Orange County Register critic Paul Hodgins wrote in September 2012, “Alone among O.C.'s home-grown dance events, the Laguna Dance Festival contains choreography that challenges as it entertains, performed by dancers who can present it persuasively and with virtuosity. Gates' festival, in its present form, is one of the can't-miss weekends on the local dance calendar.”

Laguna Dance Festival’s mission is to support and promote the development of dance creation, presentation and education, and to increase public appreciation of the art form in Orange County and beyond.


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