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A guide to one of the summer’s most epic dance events: DancerPalooza


Dancers, are you officially packing your bags for DancerPalooza? In just a few weeks, this epic, one-of-kind dance festival returns to California, but this time in a new venue – the San Diego Convention Center!

From July 24-29, DancerPalooza will bring top choreographers, master teachers, professional dancers and young dance students all under one roof for one exclusive week-long event!

One of the most comprehensive dance experiences imaginable, DancerPalooza offers a buffet of opportunities – from its popular six-day Intensives, to its three-day Crash Course option, to its free and exciting expo dubbed “Beat Street”, there’s a lot to choose from. So the question is, how can a dancer best navigate all the activities? Dance Informa to the rescue! Here’s a rundown on how you can get the most out of DancerPalooza.


Mike Minery. Photo courtesy of Break the Floor Productions.

Mike Minery. Photo courtesy of Break the Floor Productions.

From the beginning, DancerPalooza has been a summer festival that has sought to give students a one-of-a-kind experience. One of its top attractions is its Intensives, which offer dancers a time to meet and work with the “who’s who” in dance. This year, students who can commit to the full week can choose between familiar and new opportunities alike! There’s truly something for every age, technique level and style preference! Here’s the Intensive lineup:

The American Tap Festival (Brand New!): Ages 7 – Adult: This is the inaugural celebration of the timeless art of tap dance. It’ll be packed with the best tap-themed offerings in the country, including classes in technique, improv, music theory, tap history, heels and more; special events like jam sessions, cutting contests, the American Tap Championships, the Loose Screws Tap Company Auditions and Tap on Film; Panel Discussions and more.

Viva La Nika (Brand New!): Ages 9 – 25: This Jazz Funk Intensive is for all dancers looking to break into the LA commercial dance scene. Spend the week with Nika Kljun, one of LA’s hottest jazz funk choreographers. All attendees will take part in an agency audition and learn how to dance on camera. Plus, dancers will get the chance to rehearse all week for a special performance happening at the After Party on Saturday, July 28.

NOIZEY (Brand New!): Ages 11 – 25: This Hip Hop Dance Intensive will focus on both fundamental and new age hip hop styles. Directed by Randi Kemper and Hefa Tuita, each day of this Intensive is themed. Enjoy classes by Lyle Beniga, Tricia Miranda, Rich and Tone Talauega, tWitch, Marty Kudelka, and more. Oh, and did we mention there will be an agency audition, a freestyle battle (with prizes!), an end-of-the-week performance and a casting audition with Randi and Hefa?!

Palooza Party: Ages 7 – 11: This Intensive is a week of fun and friendship for younger dancers. A big focus is allowing students to make new friends, hang with the faculty and participate in fun activities together. Participants will take jazz, contemporary, musical theater and hip hop classes every morning; then, in the afternoon, they’ll have a mix of rehearsals for the closing Palooza Party show, along with fun, nightly events (including a game night and a pajama party movie night). Party Hosts Nick Lazzarini, Will Loftis and Taylor Sieve lead a faculty that includes Allison Holker and Kenny Wormald.

The Travis Wall Experience (Brand New!): Ages 13 – 25: If you admire Travis Wall and want to soak up some of his genius, this Contemporary Intensive is an amazing opportunity. Classes will include body placement and education, improvisational tasks and theories, student choreography workshops, and learning rep choreography from distinguished contemporary dance companies. Special events include auditions for a Broadway casting director and for Shaping Sound Dance Company (for students aged 17 and older). The week will conclude with all dancers participating in a unique immersive performance.

FIVE: Ages 12 – 25: This sold-out Contemporary Intensive is lead by five choreographers who have rocked the industry with their boundary-breaking styles – Teddy Forance, Talia Favia, Chaz Buzan, Martha Nichols and Lex Ishimoto. Participants will enjoy dancing to live music, improv sessions, choreographer talk-backs and an agency audition.

Aria: Ages 9 – 25: This Ballet Intensive, also sold-out, is directed by 25-year career veteran Francisco Gella. Participants can expect a packed week of classes, choreography and workshops that will take all aspects of their dancing to another level!

For those dancers who can’t commit to a full Intensive, there’s the Crash Course option, which runs July 27-29. Students aged seven and up can choose from multiple rooms of classes and levels and a full range of styles.

Are you already blown away by all your options? Well, put on your seatbelt – we’re still going! DancerPalooza also offers a massive expo hall boasting over 100 of the top dance vendors called Beat Street! Entry is free to everyone, regardless of their registration to an Intensive or Crash Course. Entry includes a swag bag, free giveaways, guest performances and more.

Leading dancewear brand and DancerPalooza title sponsor Só Dança promises an exciting booth, with star dancers set to make special appearances. Marketing Coordinator Carolynn Rowland tells us, “Só Dança has an exciting lineup attending the event. These firecracker dancers can and will be seen on television! We are so excited!”

Rowlandshares that, in addition to these superstar dancers signing autographs, taking photos and performing on the Free Style Stage, some of them will also be a part of DancerPalooza’s official Beat Squad, which is comprised of some of the most competitive talent in the country.

In addition to fun giveaways, the Só Dança booth will have a professional photographer on hand to snap shots of dancers on the special Mint Carpet (Só Dança’s version of a red carpet). “It will most definitely be Instagram-worthy!” exclaims Rowland.

A little insider’s tip? Be sure to also check out Só Dança’s Swag Bag coupon that’ll allow you to buy two leotards and get one free! “This is simply one of our many delightful deals,” Rowland shares.


DancerPalooza's BeatStreet.

DancerPalooza’s Beat Street.

Students registered for an Intensive and/or Crash Course need to be mindful of their dancewear and shoe needs. With the clock ticking, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared and ready for all that DancerPalooza throws at you.

Do you have at least seven solid outfits ready for your intensive? Are those outfits appropriate for your style? Make sure your leotards, tights, pointe shoes, jazz pants, sweatpants, tap shoes, foot thongs, jazz shoes, dance sneakers and/or dance tops are comfortable and suitable for your classes. If they’re not, get to shopping now so you have time to receive any online orders! You can always get to Beat Street as soon as it opens and pick out a few new outfits too.

If you are participating in any auditions, you should print numerous copies of your resume and bring a handful of your best professional headshots. Having a highlights reel of you dancing uploaded to YouTube for you to submit to casting agents could put you one step ahead of the competition if you get a callback. You won’t have the energy or time to prepare this at DancerPalooza, so be sure to think about this professional documentation now!

For any significant experience that will challenge and grow you as an artist, it’s always useful to pack a notebook in which you can jot down notes and daily recaps.

Also, don’t forget basic necessities: your most dependable dance bag with your name written inside it, snack bars, a refillable water bottle, a sweat towel, warmup gear, cover-ups for when you leave class, band-aids, lotion, hair ties, bobby pins and a swimsuit for any hotel pool time! Of course, if you forget anything at home, not to worry! Many of the Beat Street vendors like Só Dança will be selling dance and activewear items for your immediate convenience.


When it comes to DancerPalooza, you truly can’t choose wrong – all the Intensives are exceptional, and every other facet presents a meaningful opportunity for exchange, exposure and growth! But here are some last-minute reminders of what you should be sure not to miss:

#1. The chance to network
DancerPalooza provides direct access to countless industry influencers. You’ll regret it if you don’t take the opportunity to pick their brains for advice and to introduce yourself to them both on the dance floor and in person!

#2. The opportunity to try something new
While seeking to expand your technique in any area of dance is a great goal, be sure to take the opportunity to try at least one new style or learn from one new instructor. Don’t default to the same old style and instructors you always do; that’s a sure way to miss out! Instead, challenge yourself and jump into something completely different.

#3. Your invitation to be informed
At Beat Street, don’t just flock to the stages or your favorite name brands. Be sure to also browse vendors you’re not familiar with and see what resources they offer. There are truly so many wonderful supplies and services waiting to introduce themselves to you.

#4. And finally, just to have fun!
Soak in every moment, and be sure not to miss all the opportunities to just be amazed and inspired. Tell yourself to step back from it all at least once a day and reflect on all you have accomplished. It’s easy to fill your schedule to the brim, but also remember to just appreciate how wonderful and beautiful our art form really is.

For more information on DancerPalooza, visit www.dancerpalooza.com. To restock your dance closet, shop the looks at Só Dança.

By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.

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