In the classroom

Mary A. Castillo

To the steady count of assistant choreographer Liza Bugarin, the

dancers of the Laguna Beach High School Dance Co. twist, turn and kick

through one of the acts from the upcoming production, “VOLUME.”


Meanwhile stage techs are busy focusing lights, testing sound and

setting up the video monitors that will be part of the show.

In the center of it all stands Tod Kubo, producer/director of “VOLUME”

and the founder of the Laguna Beach High School Dance Co.


In his classroom there are no dry-erase boards or desks. His students,

some of whom had no dance experience before enrolling in the company, are

always on their feet or off -- depending if they’re performing a plie or

a tour jete.

“The company is very demanding,” Kubo admitted. “But we do everything

from making sure they are eating properly to preventing injuries so they

can succeed.”

Founded in 1996, the company started with one class and one teacher.


Now there are six progressive courses, a faculty of professional dancers

and choreographers and more than 100 students.

The course work not only teaches students the technical and expressive

side of dance, but also its history. Moreover, students are constantly

busy auditioning, rehearsing and performing in a rotating calendar of

performances throughout the year.

When asked how they cope with the normal high school stuff such as

tests and homework, the dancers try not to laugh.


“Coffee, carbs and little or no sleep,” said Catherine Brackett, an

advanced placement student who after graduation will be attending Tulane

University next fall.

On the other hand, Catherine and fellow classmate, Annie Staight,

agree that the discipline it takes to pull off a show such as “VOLUME” is

worth it.

“The show is very modern,” explained Staight, a sophomore. “It’s about

what is happening now.”

Featuring the work of seven guest choreographers, “VOLUME” is not only

the program’s most ambitious show to date, but it is also the spring

final for its cast.

It is a production that not only requires the sweat and sore muscles

of its dancers, but also the voluntary help from parents who act as

ushers and box office attendants. One parent, Jan Munoz whose daughter

graduated from Laguna Beach High School last year, personally hand-dyed

and fitted over 350 costumes for “VOLUME.”

Although “VOLUME” touches upon serious themes such as war and

consumerism, Kubo feels that it celebrates the up-and-coming generation

of Americans.

“These kids have valid points of view and they’re valuable

individuals,” he said. “The world will be in very good hands.”

* MARY A. CASTILLO is a news assistant for the Coastline Pilot. She

can be reached at 494-4321 or o7 editor@coastlinenews.comf7 .