February 24th, 2023
The Laguna Dance Festival is set to take place from Feb 24 – 26 and the Cincinnati Ballet is proud to be part of this incredible event. Many thanks to Margaret and Michael Valentine, whose generous support made this tour a reality.
The award-winning Laguna Dance Festival has presented world-class dance performances in theaters, on film, and public spaces, reaching thousands annually, and exposing new audiences to professional concert dance. This year’s festival will feature two of the nation’s major dance companies — Cincinnati Ballet, led by Artistic Director, Jodie Gates of Laguna Dance Festival and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, led by Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell.
The night of February 24th will feature Cincinnati Ballet dancers, performing world-class repertory that includes Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close, Don Quixote Pas de Deux, an excerpt from William Forsythe’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, and Swivet, choreography by Andrea Schermoly.
In addition to these performances, attendees can also expect Master Classes taught by Jodie Gates and Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell. Taking place at Laguna Beach High School, attendees will get to delve into the beauty of ballet while also learning the modern techniques necessary to help dancers refine their artistic expression.
Last night at the open rehearsals, Jodie Gates expressed her gratitude for touring and the importance of it for the dancers. “Touring is so important for the dancers! It gives a sense of hometown pride.” During the Q&A session, an audience member asked Jodie about working in Cincinnati Ballet. Furthermore, she was thrilled to share an inspiring milestone, “This year I’m proud to say that we have two female conductors, and I’m really excited about that!”
For some of our dancers, it’s also their first time performing outside of Cincinnati, which is a surreal experience for them. One of our Main Company dancers, Jhaelin McQuay, shares his thoughts on how important this experience is for him.
“Not only do I get to tour with incredible artists, movers, and people but I get to do it in a state which I could call my home. The fact that I can do it in front of my mother, grandmother, uncles, and aunties – some of which have not even seen me dance professionally, or at all, in about five years; it’s almost an overwhelming feeling and it’s just beautiful that I get to share this art to some people that don’t even know about Cincinnati Ballet company.”
For dancers, it’s a great way to show off their skills and gain experience performing in different environments. Not only do they get to showcase their talents to a wide range of audiences, but it also helps build company recognition among audiences nationwide.
“Not only that, but I’m also one of two African-Americans to go on this tour, and I feel like that representation is so important especially in a new space – like I get to show all the other African-American dancers out there that, “Hey, look, I’m doing this!” Just the fact that I was blessed and picked to do this, it’s very humbling and exciting. I used to dream of this stuff and to see it finally happening, it’s surreal.”
Come see Cincinnati Ballet perform this Feb 24 – 26, led by Jodie Gates, at Laguna Dance Festival.
For more information, visit Laguna Dance Festival’s website HERE
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