"They haven't been seen in Southern California in many years; they'll be opening the performances at the Playhouse," she said. "What's nice and new about this year is that we're getting back to this model of three to four different programs."
In addition to the series of performances, the festival has a strong educational component; master classes are slated from 6 to 8 p.m. April 11 at the Laguna Playhouse with the director/choreographer of River North Dance Chicago, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Laguna Beach High School on April 14 (with a BalletX dancer) and 15 (with a principal guest artist). Master classes are $25; there is a $10 audit option. (UCI students will be given their own on-campus master classes from April 9 to 13 with River North Dance Chicago and BalletX.)
These events all exist due to a committed network of donors and patrons, Gates said.