If you think you can dance, or if you like watching others dance, Long Beach is the place to be this week.
DancerPalooza, a six-day dance festival featuring classes for dancers, free and ticketed performances, and a chance for the public to learn a few steps from Emmy-nominated choreographers, is coming to theLong Beach Convention CenterTuesday through July 27.
“We want to unite the entire dance community for one week,” said Nikole Vallins, associate producer of DancerPalooza.
But before that happens, some of the city's own dancers will show off the moves they've learned at theHomeland Cultural Center during the annual DanceFest.
The free one-day event is set for Sunday at the Center Theater.
“It's a showcase of the performing arts ensembles in residency at the Homeland Cultural Center and it shows the greater Los Angeles community what we are doing here,” said Jim Ruggirello, the community services supervisor for the city-run facility.
The cultural center offers free programs and classes to Long Beach residents like African drum and dance, break dancing, ballet folklorico, Cambodian dance and hip-hop. The center also holds dance and other types of performances throughout the year at its MacArthur Park facility.
The yearly DanceFest is their chance to perform outside the center and for a bigger audience that may not be aware of the shows at MacArthur Park, Ruggirello said.
The performance is made up of dancers from the center who are members of resident companies like the Homeland Street Dance Crew; West Afrikan Drum and Dance Ensemble; Ballet Folklorico Maria; Homeland Funkstylers; and Xipetotez, an Aztec dance group.
“What I like about it is what I like about Long Beach, which is the diversity,” Ruggirello said.
That diversity on stage will include ethnic and cultural beats and movements that go back decades and even centuries, and also more modern examples of local dance styles. There will be about 18 break dancers popping, locking and waaking, which is similar to the vogue dance made famous by Madonna, performing this Sunday.
The ensemble is led by Homeland Center dance instructor Mike Rivera, who said all of his students will get a chance to be on stage that day.
“I use everyone, I don't just choose the best. I want them all to be on stage because they deserve to be on stage,” Rivera said.
After DanceFest, DancerPalooza will bring even more dancers and dance fans to the area.
The dance festival includes five performances that incorporate a mash-up of styles.
It starts with a new show by Shaping Sound, a contemporary dance company founded by “So You Think You Can Dance” contestants and Emmy-nominated dancers Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson. The 8 p.m. Tuesday show is being billed as a “sneak peek” performance of the company's upcoming world tour. It will perform the same show again 8:30 p.m. July 26.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles-based contemporary dance company Royal Flux performs, followed by Still Motion, a multidisciplinary dance company, on Thursday.
On July 25, it's a double bill as Movement Lifestyle, a dance-focused organization that produces events and offers dance and other classes at its North Hollywood studio, will bring a group of dancers for two shows at 6 and 9 p.m.
And the following day, the Canada-based Joanne Chapman School of Dance performs a piece called “A Man's World,” which tells the story of a man looking for love.
“We want to bring to the forefront these amazing dance companies and choreographers and give people an opportunity to see back-to-back dance shows,” Vallins said.
The week also will include a dance expo called Beat Street, which will house more than 100 vendors focused on dance gear like clothing, shoes and makeup.
The Beat Street expo also will feature free dance shows at the Hall of Fame Performance Stage, where soloists, dance companies and members of dance studios will perform throughout the weekend starting July 25.
Up-and-coming dancers will get a chance to take some intense dance courses from professional choreographers in six classes that cover styles like tap, jazz, musical theater and hip-hop, plus vocal and acting lessons for those who want to make it to Broadway someday.
Mandy Moore, who was just nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding choreography for her work on “So You Think You Can Dance,” will be one of the choreographers teaching during the week.
“My hope is that they (dancers) get a glimpse into what it's like to work with a choreographer,” she said. “I also want them to take away just a general sense of accomplishment.”
While these courses are aimed at serious young dancers, casual dance fans also can learn from the best thanks to a series of public workshops called Crash Course.
Crash Course costs $175 per person; those who register can choose from more than three dozen classes offered July 25-27.
Moore also will be teaching in the Crash Course and even if there are no future professional dancers in the class, she said she hopes to give people a better look into what it takes to be a dancer and maybe cultivate more serious fans of dance.