"At 15, I was discovered in Sacramento by director Robert Joffrey;
he asked me if I would like to come to New York," Gates said. "It's a
wonderful story of small-town girl does great."
The ballet company toured extensively and was bicoastal, so Gates
spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and Laguna Beach.
"I got to know a lot of people out here; my first boyfriend lived
in Laguna Beach," Gates said. "I've been in and out of Laguna Beach
for about 20 years."
Gates expressed the experience -- bringing an international level
of dance to Laguna with Dance Day -- as coming full circle.
"After living in Europe and New York, I realized I want to bring
what I know to this area," Gates said. "It would be great to host a
dance festival as well as continue to educate audiences throughout
the year with different dance days."
This is the sixth year for Dance Day -- which originated as the
California Choreographers Dance Festival's project, but the two have
Gallimaufry's Dance Day is a free event that includes master dance
classes and performances by professional dancers.
Gates' credentials are staggering as a principal ballerina for
several esteemed dance companies. She has been a professional dancer
for almost 25 years, achieving critical acclaim nationally and
internationally with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City, Ballet
Frankfurt in Germany and the Pennsylvania Ballet, to name a few.
During her career, Gates has danced nearly on every Continent,
danced for the first President Bush, and Presidents Reagan and
Clinton, and appeared on the Tonight Show.
In Laguna, "I am transitioning from dancer to the next part of my
life," Gates said.
Because of her connections, Dance Day will feature internationally
acclaimed dancers from Complexions Company, New York City and San
Francisco Ballet's Tina Le Blanc and Gonzola Garcia.
"We're going to continue to encourage local choreographers to
create new works, as well as introduce the finest dancers in America
to the community of Laguna Beach," Gates said.
Gates isn't kidding.
"LeBlanc is a national treasure and Desmond Richardson is