Our Laguna: CaDance dazzles during latest production

April 21, 2011|By Barbara Diamond
  • Complexions Contemporary Ballet dancer Desmond Richardson.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet dancer Desmond Richardson. (Courtesy Julietta…)

If the energy generated by the dancers on the Laguna Playhouse stage Saturday night could have been harnessed, no one in Laguna Beach would ever again have to pay a Southern California Edison bill.

To say the audience was electrified by the Complexions Contemporary Ballet's vibrant performance would be a gross understatement. The dancers up the stage, armed only with their talent, relied little on elaborate costumes or sets for effect, and folks were still talking about it days later.

"It was just phenomenal," Mayor Toni Iseman said Tuesday. "To see athlete and artist combined in one body is amazing. I went to two events and I wish I could have gone to four."

The Laguna Dance Festival, also known as CaDance, presented performances April 14 through Sunday at the playhouse to standing ovations and cries of "brava" and "bravo."

While there was not a tutu or blocked toe shoe in sight Saturday and the taller-than-conventional standard ballerinas' hair was loose rather than in a buns, classical training and discipline were evident. They just pushed the envelope.


"Dance has evolved: the technical ability, physicality and esthetic," said Jodie Gates, founder of the Laguna Beach Dance Festival. "Dance is a reflection of our cultural diversity."

Lee Winocur Field, who attended the Saturday performance with her husband, Frank, and former Laguna Beach residents Mona and Len Litt, echoed Iseman's glowing reviews.

"I love the Laguna Dance Festival," said Arts Commissioner Mary Ferguson. "I always make it to two performances."

Accountant Kathy Conway, already rasping as income tax season neared its end, was almost completely voiceless after Saturday's performance. And it was the third time she saw the show.

"It was fabulous," said Bonnie Wolin, owner of Fiore on South Coast Highway, who attended the performance with Katy Mas.

Also in the audience: Councilwoman Verna Rollinger with Doug Reilly, Leslie and retiring Laguna College of Art President Dennis Power, Randy Kroha, comedienne Lynn Epstein, Jeff Rehm, John and Arts Commissioner Lisa Mansour, and Old Pottery Place developer Joe Hanauer.

"You know greatness when you see it," said Gates, who first brought Complexions to Laguna. "These dancers are truly artists."

Gates goes back a long way with the company's founding artistic directors, premiere danseuse Desmond Richardson and choreographer Dwight Rhoden.

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