Never stand still

Never stand still

Pasadena offers many opportunities to enjoy dance for both spectators and performers

By Jana J. Monji 08/24/2012

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Pasadena’s extremely full dance card this fall reflects a busy year of entertainment that began Jan. 2 with “Dancing with the Stars” mirrorball winner, actor and war vet J.R. Martinez serving as grand marshal of the annual Tournament of Roses parade.
Remember, Martinez had to relearn how to walk when recovering from war injuries sustained in 2003. Last fall, he learned to dance under the instruction of DWTS’ Karina Smirnoff. The Louisiana-born Martinez should serve as inspiration for aspiring social dancers — but he’s not Pasadena’s only connection with DWTS.
Pasadena-born and raised Jaleel White attempted to break free from his “Family Matters” Steve Urkel typecasting when he competed on DWTS during the spring, but he and his professional dance partner, Kym Johnson, only made it to Week 6 with NFL wide receiver Donald Driver and his partner, Peta Murgatroyd, taking the mirrorball trophy. Still, White was anything but nerdy, displaying some smooth moves and nice abs. 
The Pasadena area has also provided contestants for the summer TV series “So You Think You Dance,” such as Pasadena City College student Missy Morelli, Alhambra’s Alexander Fost, Whittier’s Clarice Ordaz and former Pasadena resident Phillip Attmore from season 6. If some of the dance styles you saw on TV intrigue you, get “A Taste of Dance” in the 20-minute lessons offered at the Music Center downtown in September for just $1.
Interested in history? Take it from the bookshelves and computer screens to the dance floor with some Victorian Dance. Anglophiles can head out to Monrovia and try some English Country dances or, for Jane Austen fans, there’s Regency Ball in Pasadena. You can also learn to swing like they did when Lindy made his hop across the Atlantic at the annual Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association Harvest Moon Swing Out in October. 
You can support our local dance company, Lineage, and its annual dance festival on Sept. 22 by dressing up and attending Lineage’s posh gala benefit, featuring performances, live music and a Bollywood dance lesson. 
For more performances, try the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance program at The Music Center. The GKPD program will include the LA Project premiere created by stage and film (“Black Swan”) choreographer Benjamin Millepied (who just married actor Natalie Portman). Later in the season, you can take a trip of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland via the National Ballet of Canada.
The schedule isn’t out yet, but through Emerging Pictures Ballet in Cinemas, Laemmle Pasadena Playhouse 7 ( has been offering high-definition screenings of some of the world’s greatest ballet companies, such as the Royal Ballet of London and the Bolshoi Ballet of Russia. 
In addition, Fathom Events offered one-day screenings of the dance classic “Singin’ in the Rain” this summer, so be sure to check their listings for the fall. For Fathom, different screenings are subscribed to by different theaters, so check their Web site,,  for local listings. 
Under the “do not try this at home” category are the feats of flexibility and timing displayed by the Shangri-La Chinese acrobats, who will come to Caltech Oct. 6 for a one-evening only performance. But who knows? Someone may be inspired to run away and join circus after seeing them perform. 
Now belly dancing, which has a strong following in Pasadena, is something one can try at home. For inspiration, see the Bellydance Superstars when they perform at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. For a little perspiration, you might join the famously funny Leela, who teaches in La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale and Pasadena. She always offers her students an opportunity to perform. This fall, it will be in her “Hella Holidaze” show in North Hollywood’s Skinny’s Lounge Dec. 2. 


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