Malpaso Dance Company from Havana, Cuba performing at the Laguna Dance Festival.

Since 2005, the award-winning Laguna Dance Festival has presented world-class dance performances in theaters, on film, and public spaces, reaching thousands annually, and exposing new audiences to professional concert dance.  Laguna Dance Festival is a nonprofit organization deeply dedicated to the arts and community. The organization is committed to collaboration, dance presentation and education through an artistic lens that strategizes innovative ways to commission artists, educate young dancers and unite people of all ages and cultures. Previous festival lineups have featured national and international companies and artists including Ballet BC, Malpaso, RUBBERBAND, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Parsons Dance, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet West, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Black Grace, BalletX, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Abraham.In.Motion (A.I.M.), BODYTRAFFIC, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and artists from San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet and New York City Ballet, among many others. In addition to its mission to present world-class dance performance and increase public appreciation for the art, Laguna Dance Festival is committed to the highest quality dance education and provides opportunities for aspiring artists through master classes, workshops, intensive programs and scholarships.



“To present world-class dance performance, increase public appreciation for the art, and provide quality dance education.”


Laguna Dance Festival values equity , diversity, and inclusion and is committed to furthering these values via each aspect of our mission to present world-class dance performance, increase public appreciation for the art, and provide quality dance education.

-As we move further into the 21st Century, we will continue to embrace a broader vision of cultural inclusion in the dance we present, including centering dance that is not born of the classical ballet of the imperial courts of Europe.

-The exquisite beauty of dance must also be relevant to our community if we are to survive as an art form and an organization. This will require a vision that is more inclusive, that is capable of acknowledging and respecting the diversity of human culture.

– An initial step is to create equal access and opportunity for all students, and where aspiring young dancers of all colors and races feel welcomed into the art form. Participation at the educational level is critical, and providing access to a broader and economically disadvantaged population is our commitment to the future.

– We are also working to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in our internal operations to foster greater trust in how our organization is run.

Martha Graham said, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”  We take this as our inspiration to leverage this amazing art form in pursuit of the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion.



Artistic Director and Founder

Jodie Gates has established a significant career in the field of dance. For over thirty years she has contributed to the profession as a visionary leader, artistic director, educator, choreographer, producer, stager and principal dancer. She is an experienced founder of programs and organizations, and serves as a facilitator for artistic collaborations and educational initiatives nationally. Ms. Gates leads with integrity, bold ideas and risk-taking as guiding principles, and continues to usher momentous ideas forward to create groundbreaking and lasting change within the dance field, while creating a positive impact more broadly in society.

Currently Ms. Gates resides in Southern California, and is Artistic Director and Founder of the award-winning Laguna Dance Festival. Since 2005, the non-profit organization fosters artistic collaborations, supports choreographic commissions for multi-generational artists, provides youth scholarships, offers workshops and training for dancers, and presents international artists, educators, and the nation’s top contemporary dance companies. The organization’s mission is To present world-class dance performance, increase public appreciation for the art, and provide quality dance education. READ MORE.

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