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Segerstrom Center for the Arts springs back to life after long closure with outdoor classes, events

Jeanne Franco, center, and other participants work on choreography from "Chicago."
Jeanne Franco, center, and other participants work on choreography from “Chicago” during a Tuesday night dance class at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Argyros Plaza. The Broadway-style dance classes are offered every Tuesday night in March.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Argyros Plaza outside Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts is awakening from a year-long pandemic slumber, as residents eager for fresh air and exercise participate in a series of outdoor classes designed to shake the dust off.

Locals lined up Tuesday evening in chalk-marked areas, drawn out to ensure social distancing, for an hourlong movie-themed dance class. Masked dancers shook and shimmied to cinema classic tunes, as Broadway actress Lauren Lim Jackson taught choreography moves from films like “Chicago,” “Motown the Musical” and “Pretty Woman.”

Raised in Orange County, and with several film and TV credits to her name, Lim Jackson is currently the director of musical theater at the Orange County School of the Arts.

Hilary Leierer dances during a class on Tuesday night at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Hilary Leierer dances during a class on Tuesday night at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Tuesday’s event was the third installment in a series of dance classes led by Lim Jackson and just one of several new outdoor in-person programs being introduced as Orange County coronavirus cases continue to decline and more people receive COVID-19 vaccines daily.

A similar Tuesday night dance series runs through April, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., where participants can enjoy some high-energy salsa dancing with Latin dance expert Lyrik Cruz. In May, the weekly classes will take on a Bollywood theme.

In addition to dance classes, Argyros Plaza has also played host to Friday night family movie nights, with Audrey Hepburn’s film debut “Roman Holiday” slated for this Friday at 7:30 p.m. and “Crazy Rich Asians” appearing April 9.

Dancers participate in a Tuesday night dance class at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Dancers participate in a Tuesday night dance class at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

On Wednesday nights, from April 14 through May 5 at 6:30 p.m., the center will feature “Improv on the Plaza,” a partnership between Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory.

Led by SCR Theatre Conservatory teaching artist Greg Atkins, the workshops promise to help “hone lapsed social skills in preparation for your long-awaited reentry into public situations,” according to an event release.

Tuesday night dance classes and Improv on the Plaza classes cost $10 each, though space may be limited. Movie night tickets may be reserved for up to six people in a “pod” at the cost of $40.

For more information, visit scfta.org/events/calendar.aspx or call the ticket line from Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at (714) 556-2787. Face masks are required at all events.

Bailey Franco, center, works on choreography from "Chicago" during a dance class at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Bailey Franco, center, and other participants work on choreography from “Chicago” at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ Argyros Plaza. The Broadway-style dance classes are part of a series of outdoor events.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

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