Wednesday 24 April 2024
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Laguna Dance Festival Announces Winter Master Class


Jodie Gates, Laguna Dance Festival Founder/Artistic Director (top) and Saleemah E. Knight will teach the first of the Laguna Beach Festival’s Winter Master Class.

By OCinSite Staff


Laguna Dance Festival will host the first Master Class of the year Feb. 26, at 12 p.m. The 3-hour workshop, conducted by esteemed choreographers and master teachers, Saleemah E. Knight and Jodie Gates, offers local dance students an opportunity to learn contemporary jazz and original repertory, and also a coveted coaching session.

“Education as well as performance has always been the cornerstone of Laguna Dance Festival,” says Jodie Gates, Laguna Dance Festival Founder and Artistic Director. “Young dancers learning from elite professional dancers and choreographers are a rare treat in small cities, and we offer aspiring dancers an opportunity to study with some of the best in the field.”

Saleemah E. Knight will teach an explorative contemporary jazz class, with an emphasis on the cultural history of the form. The session includes a comprehensive warm up, progressions across the floor and choreography. Jodie Gates will teach contemporary repertory with a focus on new choreographic phrases, accompanied by one-on-one coaching and professional advice on how to succeed in auditions and competitions.


Saleemah Knight is currently professor of dance at University of Southern California, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

Knight is currently professor of dance at University of Southern California, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. She was a featured dancer in The Lion King Broadway Musical and has performed with Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Jamie Foxx, Jillian Michaels, Tyrese and Ludacris, among others. Her training includes ballet, jazz, modern dance and hip-hop and her choreography incorporates a range of dance genres. Knight is a frequent guest instructor at prestigious dance programs around the country, and a regular teacher and choreographer at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. She also offers dance outreach classes to inner city youth.

Gates is Vice Dean and Director of the University of Southern California, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, where she is also a professor and the artistic architect and visionary for the dance program. She is a leader and educator in the dance field and formerly a celebrated principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, and the Pennsylvania Ballet. Gates is also recognized for innovative choreography performed throughout the world, and holds several honors and awards for her work. She founded Laguna Dance Festival in 2005 to bring the best artists and dance companies to the local stage.

The workshop of no more than 35 students will be held at Laguna Beach High School Dance Studio, 625 Park Avenue. Participants must be twelve years of age or older and at an intermediate or advanced dance level. $25 ticket for participants or $15 to observe at


Laguna Dance Festival presents world-class dance performances and provides quality dance education in an effort to increase public appreciation for the art. 2015 winner of the Laguna Beach Arts Alliance Best Arts Program and the ArtsOC Achievement award for Outstanding Arts Organization.

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