Laguna Dance Festival History

Artistic Director Jodie Gates is a former principal dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. When she retired, this California native chose to settle in Laguna Beach. Always active, she decided to start a dance festival, bringing to her new hometown, members of major international dance companies to perform in an intimate setting.

This was in 2005. Since establishing Laguna Dance Festival in 2006, Jodie has presented members of 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. There have been Master Classes for area dance students each year, as well as classes for small children. We have become regulars at First Thursdays ART WALK, too. Through an annual festival, both in a theatre and on Main Beach, Laguna Dance Festival has reached thousands, and exposed a new audience to world-class professional dance in a beautiful setting.

There are even more exciting plans for future years. We look forward to continuing our dance presentations at the Laguna Playhouse, our new venue, and presenting new companies and artistic collaborations for our audiences.

The staff of the Laguna Dance Festival consists of Artistic Director, Jodie Gates, Executive Director, Joy Dittberner and an Operations Manager as well as a very involved board of directors. There is an Advisory Board of esteemed leaders in the dance field and a fully volunteer Board of Directors, handling most of the administrative and fund raising business, and a growing group of dedicated volunteers who man the actual festivals.

Laguna Dance Festival, is a California-based non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization. All contributions are fully tax-deductible and most appreciated.