Betsy Uhler knew there had to be a way to combine her love for dance with her 9-to-5 gig.
She and friend Elizabeth Tramontozzi founded Los Angeles-based dance company LA Unbound, inspired by a company she danced with at Ithaca College in New York called IC Unbound. Uhler and Tramontozzi started choreographing after they moved to Los Angeles.
"We realized how many friends we had out here who were dancers and didn't have performance opportunities anymore," says Uhler, who took over, directing the company after Tramontozzi returned to the East Coast.
The unconventional group of adult professional dancers, comprised of veterans and beginners, has hit its 14th performance with two upcoming shows at North Hollywood's El Portal Theatre on Saturday. Dance styles are a mix of contemporary, ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, and include traditional Japanese and cabaret burlesque.
"Our cast and crew changes every show because each dancer's commitment is just one show at a time. Each show is a little different. Most of our dancers stick with us and do every show," Uhler says.
In 2007 the company started with 24 people. It grew, Uhler says, now 140 people have joined.
"We bring a lot of people together who might not meet otherwise," she explains. "Our company is really the only dance company in Los Angeles that gears toward people who have dance training but want to fit it in with their regular lives. We're really accommodating with people who have busy schedules. You can choose as a dancer what your commitment is."
"I work a day job in addition to running the company," Uhler says, she works as an assistant editor at a company that creates movie trailers.
"No one gets paid to perform. It's volunteer," she says. "All the money we make from our tickets goes into our theatre rental and costumes. We try to keep our ticket prices as low as possible so anyone can come to our show."