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
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
“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
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org .