Laguna Dance Festival in September

For its 15th season, the Laguna Dance Festival will present a trio of performances Sept. 27–29: Parsons Dance Company from New York City, RUBBERBAND from Montreal, and Ballet West from Salt Lake City, hosted by the 750-seat Irvine Barclay Theatre.

“We’re excited to present these three acclaimed dance companies, hosted at the Irvine Barclay Theatre,” said founder and artistic director Jodie Gates.  As for the change of venue, she said, “We have long enjoyed a warm, mutually beneficial relationship with the Laguna Playhouse. As a result of the Playhouse’s success and expanded programming, fewer dates exist on their booking calendar in the fall months, and we were unable to receive a confirmation in time to announce our festival. The upside is the opportunity to expose more Orange County arts lovers to our performances and mission, and the Irvine Barclay Theatre is an exceptional dance house. We are still all about our hometown, Laguna Beach, and are looking at the 2020 season with new partnerships and exciting collaborations. We have also confirmed performances in unconventional venues such as Neighborhood Congregational Church’s Bridge Hall, where Colombia’s Sankofa Danzafro performed in October to a delighted audience.”

Jerry Mandel, president of the Irvine Barclay Theatre, said, “We are thrilled to be able to host the Laguna Dance Festival for its 15th anniversary performances. Jodie Gates has built something truly special for the community and it is the perfect complement to what we do with our dance series, Dance@theBarclay.”

The Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, California.

Parsons Dance Company — Deidre Rogan, Elena D’Amario, Eoghan Dillon, Geena Pacareu, Justus Whitfield, Parsons Dance, Shawn Lesniak, Zoey Anderson

Parsons Dance is a contemporary company, internationally renowned for its energized, athletic ensemble work. The New York Times called artistic director David Parsons “one of the great movers of modern dance” and noted of his company “this is a ‘dance your heart out’ (at all times, no excuses) kind of enterprise.” 
Parsons and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Howell Binkley founded the company in 1985. It has toured to more than 30 countries and five continents. Laguna Dance Festival brought Parsons Dance to Laguna Beach in 2008 and 2013 to perform “Caught,” Parsons’ signature work. Leaping more than 100 times in six minutes, a high-powered soloist appears to never touch the ground as a precisely timed strobe light catches the dancer in midair. “Caught” will once again be performed at the Laguna Dance Festival on Sept. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m.


RUBBERBAND is an exciting Montreal-based company exploring the fusion of contemporary ballet and hip-hop. The company was founded in 2002 by choreographer Victor Quijada, a Los Angeles native. To describe the company’s style, The Guardianwrote, “Super-stretched jumps morph into crouching rolls; top-rocking footwork muscles in on high stepping bourrées; and below the movement’s surface, silky classical phrasing is worked into the choppy rhythms of street dance. The result is a unique dynamic that’s both tough and elastic…true to their name, the group’s performers move together as if connected like a rubber band.”

Ballet West.

Ballet West was established in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1963, and has since toured the world to present its remarkable repertoire, including works by renowned contemporary choreographers such as Jiří Kylián, Mark Morris, and Twyla Tharp. Under the guidance of artistic director Adam Sklute, Ballet West also preserves its American classical ballet legacy. Barclay audiences will see Africa Guzmán’s “Sweet and Bitter,” which received excellent reviews at New York’s Joyce Theater and as a world premiere at the National Choreographic Festival in Salt Lake City.

Laguna Dance Festival

Sept. 27–29, 2019

The Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, California.

Tickets are $45 with student ID, $65 general; $100 VIP tickets include prime seating and a reception in the Barclay’s Jade Room during intermission.

Purchase tickets here.

In addition to the Irvine Barclay Theatre performances, the 2019-20 Laguna Dance Festival includes its signature educational programs, a summer intensive dancer training June 24–28, a master class series, a free summer show at the Festival of Arts, free First Thursdays Art Walk performances, and a Nov. 3 Merce Cunningham centennial celebration in collaboration with Laguna Art Museum.

Not to be missed is a dance lecture-demonstration by New Zealand’s outstanding contemporary dance company, Black Grace, on Sunday, Nov. 10.

Black Grace.

Laguna Dance Festival is one of Orange County’s major annual cultural events and continues to be an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists. Its founder and director is ballerina Jodie Gates, who also currently serves as vice dean and director of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Laguna Dance Festival’s mission is to present world-class dance performance, increase public appreciation for the art, and provide quality dance education.

2019 Laguna Dance Festival Schedule:

• Thursday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 and 7 p.m. – Two free performances at First Thursdays Art Walk. Dancers and choreographers from the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach

• Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. – New York-based Parsons Dance Company at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Pre-show talk at 6:30 p.m.

• Saturday, Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon – Educational dance workshop by Parsons Dance Company, Laguna Beach High School, 625 Park Avenue, Laguna Beach

• Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. – Parsons Dance Company, RUBBERBAND, and Ballet West at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, California. Combined program of excerpts from respective repertoires.

• Sunday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m.  – Master class with RUBBERBAND founder Victor Quijada onstage at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine

• Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. – RUBBERBAND at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Pre-show talk at 1 p.m.
Master class by the company at 10 a.m.

• October – Master class

• Sunday, Nov. 3 – Merce Cunningham Centennial Celebration at Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach

• Sunday, Nov. 10 – Lecture demonstration by Black Grace from New Zealand, drawing on Maori and Pacific Islander dance, modern, and hip-hop. Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Drive, Laguna Beach, California.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


Follow us

Follow ArtsBeat LA on social media for the latest arts news.