The Laguna Dance Festival uniquely offers sensational world-class dance on a theatre stage, art galleries and site-specific outdoor venues. Where else can an audience experience top-quality performances from international and national touring companies — get that up-close feeling during the performances — and have an opportunity to meet the dancers themselves?

The Laguna Dance Festival transforms the distant world of stage dance into the proximity of a living room setting because of its capacity to bring the best dancers in today’s world onto the varied and unique stage venues of Laguna Beach.

Attracting both dancers and dance lovers to this idyllic resort setting, Laguna Dance Festival is dedicated to audience awareness and appreciation through major annual performances, as well as education and small group opportunities, as well as through major annual performances.

Since its inception, Laguna Dance Festival has presented companies such as Complexions Contemporary Ballet, The Parsons Dance Company, Hubbard Street 2, Trey McIntyre Project, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, BalletX, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, MALPASO and Ballet BC, among others. Additionally, it has showcased the world’s most exciting talents from the Broadway stage, TV and screen and including principal dancers from The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and The San Francisco Ballet.


Jodie Gates is the founding director of the award winning Laguna Dance Festival in Southern California. The dance festival is dedicated to dance education and presentation with a mission of facilitating collaborations with artists and developing audience awareness and engagement in the community through dance.

Ms. Gates has recently been appointed the Vice Dean and Director of the University of Southern California, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Under her direction, the dance school hosts a revolutionary new program, opening its doors to the first freshman class Fall 2015.

For thirty years Ms. Gates has established a remarkable career as an educator, director, choreographer and dancer. She is inspired by innovation, risk-taking and the pushing of boundaries, counterpoised with an abiding respect for tradition. Her professional performing career includes; former principal ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and international guest artist touring and performing throughout North and South America, Mexico, Russia, Asia, Australia and Europe. She has been featured in numerous television programs, celebrated festivals, and in the course of her performing career she was invited to perform for President’s Ronald Reagan, George Bush Senior and President Bill Clinton.

As an internationally recognized choreographer she has created over 50 original dance works. Receiving critical acclaim, her work has been called “visually compelling, powerful, beautiful,” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and “richly textured and profound,” by the Orange County Register. She has recently created works for Cincinnati Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin in Germany, Colorado Ballet, Ballet West, ABT II, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, BalletX, The Juilliard School, Washington Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and several other companies nationally. She is also responsible for teaching, staging and producing William Forsythe’s ballets, including productions at Paris Opera Ballet, Scottish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Prague National Theater, Zurich Opera Ballet, Teatro La Scala, Houston Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. . From 2006 – 2013 she was a Professor of Dance at the University of Irvine, California.

Her honors include recognition from the American Association of University Women for her leadership, dedication and contribution to the arts, and most recently she received the 2014 “Artist of the Year” honor from the LBaa Arts Star Awards. She has been acknowledged by American Ballet Theater for her choreographic excellence named the Altria/ABT Fellow, and was a 2012 recipient of the esteemed Jerome Robbins ‘New Essential Works’ program.