Coming to Laguna Beach: dancers and dance companies from across the nation – New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco

Professional dancers from companies spanning the U.S. will perform in the Laguna Dance Festival’s seventh season April 12-15. The festival will offer audiences three distinctly different shows with four performances at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. Festival founder and artistic director Jodie Gates calls this season “a must-see if you love dance.”

River Dance North Chicago’s festival debut will open the festival on Thursday, April 12, offering audiences a jazz-based, contemporary dance show. On Friday, April 13, Philadelphia’s BalletX will premiere a newly choreographed piece by Jodie Gates that showcases the company’s modern, athletic style of ballet-based dance. New York City Ballet stars Tiler Peck and Joaquin DeLuz will headline the two Stars of Dance performances on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m.

In addition to the four theatre performances, the 2012 Laguna Dance Festival includes master classes, pre-performance discussions with dancers and artistic directors, and performances during Laguna’s First Thursdays ArtWalk on April 5. Theatre performances will be held at the 420-seat Laguna Playhouse, where every seat provides a choice viewing spot. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.lagunadancefestival.org or at the Laguna Playhouse box office.

Joining Ms. Peck and Mr. DeLuz in the Stars of Dance performances are Maria Mosina (formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet) and Alexei Tyukov from Denver-based Colorado Ballet, and principal dancers Robin Cornwell and Jonathan Dummar from San Francisco-based Smuin Ballet. A fundraising reception at Laguna Playhouse will follow the Saturday night performance.

The Sunday Stars of Dance matinee performance will be preceded by a pre-performance discussion with the dancers at 1 p.m.

General admission tickets are $50; student tickets with ID are $35. Tickets for the Saturday night gala are $50 each. For more information regarding the new season, call 949.715.5578 or visit www.lagunadancefestival.org.

The Laguna Dance Festival is regarded as one of Orange County’s major annual cultural events and continues to be an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists. The festival invites a diverse range of professional, internationally renowned choreographers and dancers to stretch their imaginations and talents, providing top-quality performances, master classes and talks, making Laguna Beach a vibrant hot spot for professional dance.

LAGUNA DANCE FESTIVAL: Complete Schedule of Events

Thursday, April 5 at 6 to 8:30 p.m. – During ArtWalk, festival dancers will perform at Laguna Art Museum and [seven degrees].

Wednesday, April 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. – Master class by Frank Chaves of River North Dance Chicago, Laguna Playhouse

Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. – Performance by River North Dance Chicago; pre-performance talk at 6:30 p.m. with artistic director Frank Chaves, Laguna Playhouse

• Friday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. – Performance by BalletX – premiere work choreographed by Laguna Dance Festival creative director Jodie Gates; pre-performance talk with artistic directors Matthew Neenan and Christine Cox at 6:30 p.m., Laguna Playhouse

Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Master class by Tara Keating of BalletX, Laguna Beach High School Dance Studio

Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m.  – Stars of Dance gala performance with New York City Ballet’s Tiler Peck and Joaquin DeLuz, Colorado Ballet’s Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov and Smuin Ballet’s Robin Cornwell and Jonathan Dummar. A post-performance VIP fundraising gala will be held at Laguna Playhouse.

Sunday, April 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Master class by Joaquin DeLuz of New York City Ballet, Laguna Beach High School Dance Studio

Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m. – Stars of Dance matinee performance, Laguna Playhouse; pre-performance talk with the dancers at 1 p.m.

All performances will be held at Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Laguna Playhouse box office. Two of the master classes are at the Laguna Beach High School Dance Studio, 625 Park Avenue; the third is at Laguna Playhouse. Check the website for tickets and performance details: www.lagunadancefestival.org or call 949.715.5578.