Laguna Dance Festival presents three nights of dance from New Zealand to Los Angeles

Laguna Dance Festival announces their 2024 Festival, featuring three nights of captivating dance performances from international and local talents. Guided by the vision of Founder and Artistic Director Jodie Gates, this exceptional festival is scheduled to captivate audiences from Friday, Feb. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 25, with a complimentary backstage event on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the renowned Laguna Playhouse. Secure your tickets now by clicking here.

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Foundation

Laguna Dance Festival Founder and Artistic Director Jodie Gates

According to Gates, “The 2024 Festival represents the extraordinary talents here in Southern California and the Pacific Rim, delivering an eclectic array of dance styles. From contemporary dance and traditional Somoan movement to ballet and tap, each performance promises the highest level of integrity, expertise and excitement.”

As a native Californian and a Laguna Beach resident for nearly two decades, Gates continues to delve into the profound meaning of artistry in the world. “Through the language of dance, the festival aims to nurture the next generation, explore collaborations, and provide patrons with a blend of tradition and daring dance performances suitable for all ages.”

In addition to the program, February 24 marks a collaborative venture with the Laguna Beach Music Festival, in partnership with Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. This unique collaboration promises a one-of-a-kind experience, seamlessly merging the artistry of dance with live music.

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Festival

Black Grace, presented by Neil Ierema

Backstage with Black Grace Thursday, Feb. 22, 6 p.m.

Immerse yourself in the world of dance with an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m., as New Zealand’s Black Grace takes center stage for a complimentary event. Witness the magic of on-stage rehearsals and gain rare insight into the artistic process.

Artistic Director and Choreographer Neil Ierema will be present, providing an intimate exploration of the dance world. Neil said, “We are excited to include Laguna Dance Festival on Black Grace’s upcoming tour to the United States. The repertory program will span almost three decades of my choreography, and we are looking forward to sharing these works with Laguna audiences.”

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Photo by Duncan Cole

Black Grace, Paradise Rumour Performance

Black Grace Friday, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Direct from New Zealand, Black Grace, an ensemble of extraordinary dancers, will grace the stage on Friday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Choreographer Neil Ierema’s fusion of contemporary dance with traditional Samoan movement promises performances that are eloquent, spiritual, athletic and lyrical. The evening showcases two acts, including Handgame and Kiona and the Little Bird Suite in the first act and the thought-provoking Paradise Rumour in the second act. The night begins with a pre-show curtain speech at 6:30 p.m., followed by a 15-minute intermission between performances.

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Photo by David Friedman

Los Angeles Ballet

Los Angeles Ballet & Black Grace Saturday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m., the leading ballet company in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Ballet, will captivate audiences in a collaborative event with Black Grace for a night of breathtaking performances. Artistic Director of Los Angeles Ballet, Melissa Barak shared, “It’s a thrill for us at Los Angeles Ballet to be part of the Laguna Dance Festival this year. We’ll be presenting works that are new to the LAB repertoire, providing a glimpse into the innovative choreography that will define our future.”

This performance also begins the collaboration with the Laguna Beach Music Festival, a partnership with Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. The collaboration promises a unique experience, combining the artistry of dance with live music. The evening showcases Los Angeles Ballet’s versatility, featuring a range of ballet styles, including classical, contemporary and neoclassical pieces.

The performances will include Nicolas Blanc’s contemporary ballet “Tableaux Vivants” and Artistic Director Melissa Barak’s compelling work “Reclamation,” adapted from film to stage. Moreover, the Festival will present a world premiere dance work choreographed by Jodie Gates, accompanied by live music performed with solo cello.

The evening kicks off at 7:30 p.m., with a 15-minute intermission between performances. Don’t miss this extraordinary fusion of dance and music, promising an unforgettable night of artistic brilliance.

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Photo by Joey Kennedy

Syncopated Ladies

Syncopated Ladies & Los Angeles Ballet Sunday, Feb. 25, 2 p.m.

The Festival culminates on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m., with an afternoon performance highlighting the Syncopated Ladies and Los Angeles Ballet. Recognized by the Los Angeles Times as “the next generation of genre-bending tappers,” Syncopated Ladies bring a dynamic and invigorating tap dance showcase to the stage. Los Angeles Ballet’s captivating performances persist, featuring special solos by recipients of LDF’s 2024 Young Artist Scholarship. The matinee unfolds in two acts with a 15-minute intermission, followed by a post-show meet and greet with the dancers in the theater lobby.

The February 25 matinee also features select talented Young Artist Scholarship recipients from the Festival’s 2024 line-up, providing them with the opportunity to showcase their unique skills and perform individual solos.

Don’t miss this unparalleled celebration of dance at the Laguna Playhouse. Tickets are available now at www.lagunadancefestival.org.


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