There was a time when dancers dreamed of moving to New York City to perform on Broadway, with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the New York City Ballet, or as a world famous Radio City Music Hall Rockette. After Busby Berkely introduced us to the movie musical, with heavily choreographed features including Footlight Parade and 42nd Street, dancers found a new way to dream. Then we were introduced to stars such as Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelley, Donald O’Connor and the Sharks and Jets from the 1961 Academy Award Winning Best Picture West Side Story. The dance map was changed forever. Dance studios can be found all over the United States, dancers could now make a living as a professional on either coast.
Though your dance group may not be looking for professional opportunities quite yet, there are plenty of great reasons to plan a dance group trip to Southern California. The climate has often been described as “perfect” and with good reason. It is mostly sunny and warm with gentle Ocean breezes throughout the year with an average of 329 days of sunshine. There are theme parks and movie and television studios, and shopping for days. On occasion, groups can even attend a taping of such hit television shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” or “Dancing with the Stars”. If you are looking for an exciting destination to bring your dance group this is it!
In addition to the sights and sounds, there are performance and workshop opportunities in Southern California at every turn. At Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth, your dancers will become honorary cast members through the Disney Performing Arts On Stage program. Upon acceptance, your dance group can take the stage within the Disneyland Resort and will be able to showcase their talents to thousands of guests from around the world. Disney Performing Arts On Stage also offers amazing workshop opportunities where your dancers will be taught technique and choreography from some of the shows around property by a professional Disney dancer. Workshops include Dance 101 & 201 and Dance Technique: Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz and Tap and are 90 minutes in length. You will want to schedule plenty of time to enjoy Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure during your visit.
At Universal Studios Hollywood your dancers will be stars in the making as they participate in the Lights, Camera, Music! program. Through this program your group will be able to showcase their talents on one of their main stages inside the Park. Groups will be given the Hollywood treatment as they are escorted down a red carpet in front of adoring fans. A performance followed by a day at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a memory your dance group will remember forever.
There are also performance opportunities for dance groups at Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain, which hosts an annual event for Dance groups called Dance Fest where you are given the opportunity to strut your stuff in the Golden Bear Theatre before enjoying a day in the park. Groups can also perform outside of Madame Tussauds Hollywood right on Hollywood Boulevard. Or, if you are looking for a truly unique experience during your trip to Southern California, your group can take the Catalina Express to Catalina Island just off the coast of Los Angeles to perform on the Wrigley Stage. With the beachfront and Pacific ocean as your backdrop and the Mediterranean charm of this beautiful island all around, this is performance location like none other.
For additional workshop and master class options be sure to visit the Millenium Dance Complex, Hollywood’s hottest dance studio, where you can regularly see stars in rehearsal for concerts, theatre, or just taking class. The Edge Performing Arts Center regularly hosts such famous choreographers as Mandy Moore, Sonya Tayeh, and Tabitha & Napoleon D’Umo. Master Classes can be arranged at either of these studios as well as many other studios around the Southern California area.
Any trip to Southern California should start with a visit to Hollywood. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame are the cornerstones of historic Hollywood. You can catch a red carpet movie premier, take in a Broadway style show at the Pantages Theatre or a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Then travel to West Hollywood for a visit to The Grove and The Original Farmer’s Market, the area’s best spot for shopping and dining. And, of course, you must visit Beverly Hills to buy a map of the stars homes and do some window shopping on Rodeo Drive. With its rich history in Entertainment, Southern California is a destination worth visiting and can make you feel as though you are dancing with the stars!