Anyone entering the Pasadena Convention Center on Saturday might have thought they were at a theatrical school such as The Juilliard School or a dance rehearsal hall. Sounds of tap dancing, classical music and the familiar countdown of “five…six…seven…eight” echoed from every corner. Inside, dancers of all shapes, sizes and ages hurried from one class to another, all anxious to try something new or to experience a teacher they had heard so much about.
This was the first Pasadena Dance Festival, produced and presented by Lineage Dance.
“We were part of a dance festival in Boston. It was an amazing event,” said Hilary Thomas, artist director for Lineage. “We thought we should bring it here.”
The festival offered classes and workshops from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a variety of dance styles and training.
“I found out about this through a fellow dancer at GCC (Glendale Community College),” said Natalia Carrillo from Glendale. “There are some good instructors here and with good techniques.”
Seolah Cho, a junior from Glendale High School, said she takes dance at her school and was attending the festival to try styles she had always been interested in learning.
“I am trying many different types of dance, like Irish,” she said. “ I love dance. I love the way it makes me feel. I just feel lighter and happier when I dance.”
Cho and Carrillo were joined by dancers who had studied for years and others who just loved to dance. They were drawn from all over the area; all shared the love of dancing and the stamina to run from tap dance to ballet to hip hop.
“There has been such a good response,” Lineage Dance’s Thomas said.
She added that they sent out a call throughout the Los Angeles dance studios for teachers. The Lineage board chose from those submitted.
“We did fly out Chip and Phip Fuller ,who had a ballet studio in Pasadena for years. They had moved to Florida but were thrilled to come back to help,” she said.
“We were in Pasadena for 27 years,” confirmed Chip Fuller. He and Phip said they were excited about being part of the festival. “This is phenomenal,” Chip said.
Phip said that it was a good way to let dancers know what was available.
“Los Angeles is so diverse,” Phip said. “Many dancers have no idea what is available.”
Both said that they were surprised when Thomas called and offered to fly them out for the festival.
“It was the last thing we expected,” Chip said.
But their ballet class was extremely popular with dancers filling the stage just to get a chance to learn from them.
Thomas said this year’s event was successful and she hopes it will return next year. The day was made possible in part from a grant through the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the city of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division.