Don’t get stuck on the mouthful of a name, the important thing is
that the California Choreographers Dance Festival is all about
bringing dance to Laguna.
This Saturday, as part of Cultural Arts Month, the group is
presenting Dance Day, an entire day of dance classes free to the
public taught by world-class professionals.
“The idea is going back to bringing new dance to audiences and new
audiences to dance,” said Kimberly Leeds, public relations director.
Dance Day is open to anyone who wants to learn dance at all levels
“There’s so much variety, that’s another incredible aspect --
ballet, jazz ethnic and the list goes on,” President Suzi Chauvel
Leeds expressed that although Laguna Beach has been such a
wonderful place for art for such a long time, California
Choreographers Dance Festival wants to show off dance as an
expressive art form.
This Saturday the group will exemplify what dance is all about
with classes taught from 9 a.m. to 7:55 p.m.
“We’re really lucky to have Lila Zali teaching ballet,” Leeds
said. “She started Ballet Pacifica.”
Zali is well known as a preeminent ballet master instructor.
Lula Washington is another master teacher whom California
Choreographers Dance Festival is thrilled to have teach modern dance.
“She’s one of the top modern choreographers known in this area”,
Leeds said. “She brings a crowd.”
Suzi Chauvel, the dance company’s chairman, said it was quite a
coup to get Washington for its dance day.
West African dance will be represented with the accompaniment and
excitement of live drumming, instructed by Nikola Clay who studied
under a master teacher from West Guinea.
One of the fun things for couples to participate in is a swing
class and learning the Argentinean Tango.
“Linda Marie Leve is flying all the way in from Germany just to
teach this class,” Leeds said. “She’s so excited about it, she’s just
teaching it and going home after the class.”
Mostly they expressed that they want people to enjoy themselves
and learn as many types of dances they want from master teachers.
“We really want to have fun with the California Choreographers
Dance Festival Dance Day,” Chauvel said. “The point is to have fun
and it’s a great way by offering every kind of dance -- people can
get little tasters of dance.”
Dance is very good for cultural and spiritual health, Chauvel
“What better way to celebrate being alive than dance and get more
people involved,” Leeds said.
“To be able to open your body to movement through dance is so
great for the spirit -- it allows you to celebrate your being,” Leeds
Starting in 1998 California Choreographers Dance Festival has been
working in collaboration with other art entities to offer a wide
display of master choreographers work.
“The whole dance movement is done by grants and volunteers and
it’s incredible to see how it has grown through sweat, equity and
help from the city, Festival of Arts and cultural arts grants,”
California Choreographers Dance Festival has performed in
collaboration with First Thursday’s Art Walk, at Laguna Art Museum’s
Surf Culture exhibition and at the festival, as well as Music in the
Park concerts and other art event happenings.
“When you look in the audience and see the people’s faces and they
are swept away, you realize why we’re doing it,” Chauvel said. “It’s
a powerful thing.”
Dance Day classes will be held at No Square Theatre’s rehearsal
studio. They donated the space, at 221 Broadway, and they encourage
everyone to come. Even if someone has never danced a step in their
life, there will be a lot of electricity and excitement, said Sally
Gallagher, the choreographers’ outreach director. For more
information, times and schedules of the classes, visit