LOCAL HAPPENINGS AND MORE IN THE SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY CITY OF SAN CLEMENTE

Category: Entertainment

South Coast Dancesport

South Coast Dancesport

Let’s Dance

Leading man Matt Gregory of South Coast DanceSport expertly shows you how to follow in his dancing shoes.

Matt Gregory does put on incredible airs—but they’re the ones that belong on the dance floor. We’re talking about the way his body flies across the space of his Laguna Hills studio with an astonishing capacity for his craft. Tall and thin, his sinewy frame seems made for the rhythm of the ballroom dancing he teaches. Whether it’s the slow-slow-quick-quick steps of the Foxtrot, or the smooth rise-and-fall movements of the Waltz, he glides around with such superb form you can’t help but be captivated.

If you’ve never thought you could move like that, think again. Although Gregory’s level of sophistication is long earned, he’s a gifted and patient instructor who loves nothing more than to help his students realize their abilities—and have a heck of a great time doing it. “I like to refer to our front door as a ‘magic’ door, a place where you can hang your worries and come have fun,” he says. “Nobody leaves without a smile on their face.”

You might have thought about taking ballroom lessons before—we can probably all admit to having been drawn in by popular shows like “Dancing with the Stars” or “So You Think You Can Dance.” Some of Gregory’s guest choreographers even hail from those shows. We wouldn’t be surprised to find one of his students starring on them someday.

Gregory’s clientele is broad ranging, including all age levels and skills sets. Up until now, you may have doubted your own dance floor prowess or you thought you were too old to learn. But this particular instructor encourages everyone—young and old—to give it a whirl. Kids, couples, singles, retirees. You wouldn’t think it, but men seem to enjoy the classes even more than the women sometimes. “It’s challenging to navigate around the floor and be able to move your body in a powerful and new way,” Gregory says. “Women are hard-wired to want to dance, of course. But it’s a proportionate group of students coming through our doors.”

His panache for teaching anyone how to dance might stem from his own unlikely background. He started at the age of 19, late for someone foraying into the world of competitive dance. (Most professionals start while they’re barely able to walk.) “I was on a holiday break from college,” he recalls. “My mom bought me a package of lessons at a local studio. I fell in love with it.” He trained for years after that, entering and winning competitions, eventually making his way to Southern California and ensconcing himself in the realm of dancers and studios here.

“I have empathy for adults who come here to learn, since I was once in their shoes,” Gregory says. “I make sure I provide a safe and comfortable environment for them to learn in. You don’t have to be athletically gifted, or even be part of a couple.” He likes that his students end up feeling confident, beautiful and able to move artistically to the music.

Gregory and his carefully chosen (and extremely well-trained) instructors teach ballroom, Latin and country western dance to a bevy of clients. They offer all types and sizes of packages, with your first session being free. You can even drop in on a class for about the price of a gourmet Starbucks coffee drink. Upcoming nuptials? The South Coast Dance Sport has pre-planned or last minute tutorials that promise to surprise and impress your weddings guests. What couple wouldn’t want to prepare for their special day ahead of time with a glass of champagne, red roses and a choreographed routine by an expert like Gregory?

If the thought of learning to dance is daunting, you can see what it’s all about by attending the studio’s monthly “Practice Party.” It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the studio atmosphere, or show off what you’ve already learned there. The evening event goes for a couple of hours, beginning with wine and cheese, and a half-hour dance lesson by Gregory. Check the site for this and other floor-twirling events.

With such a genuine and energetic approach to his teachings, it’s no wonder his studio perfectly reflects the warmth and accomplishment of Gregory himself. “I love the people I get to work with,” he says. “It’s so rewarding to see them enjoying themselves and successfully learning how to dance.”

South Coast Dancesport
23461 Ridge Route Drive, Laguna Hills
949.945.4200 | www.southcoastdancesport.com

Dana Point Ocean Institute

The Spirit of Dana Point

Dana Point Harbor

Toshiba Tall Ships Festival Cruise

Travel back in time to the seafaring world of Richard Henry Dana Jr., as the Dana Point Historical Society reads out loud his famed novel, “Two Years Before the Mast,” in two complete 9-hour sessions. Learn the history behind the city of Dana Point…

The Ocean Institute will present its 26th annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival, the largest annual gathering of tall ships on the west coast, the weekend of September 10-12. Explore the majesty and wonder of tall ships through the smells, sounds and sights of real working tall ships. Activities include interactive living-history encampments, with blacksmiths, scrimshaw artists, knot tiers, and the infamous Port Royal Privateers. The Ocean Institute will also be open to visitors who can explore their work protecting our local watersheds through hands-on labs and art activities, and get up-close and personal with some of the ocean’s most amazing sea creatures, including sea stars, jellies, rays and octopuses.

Cruise tickets can be purchased online at www.ocean-institute.org or by calling (949) 496-2274. Additional information is available at www.tallshipsfestival.com.

The Ocean Institute will present its 26th annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival, the largest annual gathering of tall ships on the west coast, the weekend of September 10-12. The event kicks off Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., and continues Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Explore the majesty and wonder of tall ships through the smells, sounds and sights of real working tall ships. Activities include interactive living-history encampments, with blacksmiths, scrimshaw artists, knot tiers, and the infamous Port Royal Privateers.

Tall Ships scheduled to participate (may be 
subject to change):

  • American Pride
  • Bill of Rights
  • Brig Pilgrim
  • Spirit of Dana Point
  • Californian
  • Curlew
  • Exy Johnson
  • Irving Johnson

The Ocean Institute will also be open to visitors who can explore their work protecting our local watersheds through hands-on labs and art activities, and get up-close and personal with some of the ocean’s most amazing sea creatures, including sea stars, jellies, rays and octopuses.

Cruise tickets can be purchased online at www.ocean-institute.org or by calling
(949) 496-2274. Additional information is available at www.tallshipsfestival.com.

K1 Speed

K-1 Speed

The Need
for Speed

Feeling Racy? Take a few turns on 
K1 Speed’s crazy-fast go-kart racetrack. Didn’t you secretly want to be Tom Cruise’s character in the movie “Days of Thunder”? (Or at least his love interest.) Well, now You can be. Kind of.

K1 Speed is the largest indoor go-kart racing organization in Southern California, with locations in Carlsbad, Irvine, Anaheim, Ontario and Torrance. It’s even eco-friendly; riders test their speed under energy efficient lighting with European electric pro-karts (gas-powered karts not only emit gas fumes into the atmosphere and seep liquids onto the racetrack, but are also slower than state-of-the-art versions). High-torque, zero-emission electric karts are capable of speeds approaching 40 mph on indoor racetracks!

Co-owner Boris Said—the former BMW Prototype Technology Group (PTG) racing star, NASCAR competitor and team owner of SoBe, No Fear energy drink—really put his expertise to work on K1’s authentic racing experience. The tracks are uniquely equipped to host corporate events, team-building activities, seminars, product launches, catered functions, birthday parties or any other special occasion. You name it, there’s a reason to get in a go-kart and race for it.

K1’s popular “Arrive and Drive” option allows everyone, be they seasoned pros or newbie novices, to experience a rush of adrenaline anytime they so desire. Racers receive a results sheet based on a scoring system that allows them to compare times and rank themselves against other drivers—with the cool option of checking results online to see how they fared against the best race times of the week or month.

Looking for an awesomely entertaining place to take the kids? Or, just a big kid yourself and wanna give racing a whirl? K1 Speed, people. Why the heck not?

K1 Speed Carlsbad

6212 Corte Del Abeto, Carlsbad, CA 92011

760.929.2225 | www.K1Speed.com

All racers must be a minimum of 4’ 10” tall and maximum of 300 lbs to race. Drivers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

ArtiSans Label

Artisans Label

A New SanSation

While the music industry focuses on technology as the battleground of reform, Fullerton-based record company ArtiSans Label quietly stages a coup with an unheard-of idea… Good ol’ fashioned customer service.

Written by Anna Curtis

There’s a musical revolution going on in Orange County.

At first glance, ArtiSans appears a boutique record label populated by a happy bunch of music lovers. But listen to any one of them talk about the idea behind what they’re doing, and the savvy little company emerges as a benevolent venture set entirely apart from an industry suffering a major identity crisis.

“To its detriment, the traditional record business model is centered around the sale of a physical product,” says OC’s own Michael Filson, founder and president of the music world’s first (and only) service-based record label. “Our model is immune to any changes in technology. It allows artists to save money, retain control of their art and follow a solid strategy to a sustainable career… All while retaining 100% of their sales revenue.”

Musicians, surviving only on their music? This is a world away from the notorious practices of traditional labels, in which artists are lucky to earn 9% of revenue after all manufacturing and promotional expenses have been recouped. “All that’s needed is central project management to unify and coordinate the services. It’s exactly the business model of, say, a wedding coordinator. Not sexy,” he laughs. “But true.”

Complementing the label is the ArtiSans recording studio on Fender Avenue in Fullerton. Built on the same stomping grounds as famed Fender guitars, the unique design of this property is the epitome of what ArtiSans stands for: creativity, innovation and (lest we forget) rebelliousness. Friends and industry types sip cocktails or gourmet coffee as they watch their band lay down tracks through an oversized soundproof glass window. Even visiting the place lends a sense of empowerment. It’s no wonder the studio has become a hangout for the musician community; the symbiotic nature of the label and its sister-studio makes ArtiSans irresistible.

There’s a fallacy, probably propagated by the seemingly easy rise of bands from Orange County, that all an artist needs for success is good music. “Too many right-brained artists have every intention of growing their fan base, but lack the left-brained skill set to craft the strategy and execution,” he says. In practice, his theory holds true. Since opening both divisions for business in 2008, ArtiSans’ roster has quickly grown to over 85 bands. “In actuality, success requires great music, but great music alone won’t earn success. Playing shows isn’t necessarily the quickest path to career growth.”

It seems Filson is not the only one who believes the window of opportunity for reform can be used to swing the pendulum of power to the artists themselves. Major musical instrument retailer Guitar Center has partnered with ArtiSans Label to offer its services as a benefit to its employees nationwide. Guitar Center also relies on Filson’s company for its quarterly compilation album, Fresh Cuts. Previous albums have featured major artists like Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer. The latest anthology features New Found Glory, and was released last December at all Guitar Center stores across the country.

It’s obvious that Filson and his crew work tirelessly for indie artists. They utilize comprehensive business expertise, life experience, compassion for others and an abiding love for artistry to create a forward-thinking business with a cause. Now, more than ever, artists need this type of representation and support. It’s a fresh new way to empower musicians through complete customer service, while allowing them to maintain full control of their music and the business behind it. At the end of our studio tour, Filson sends us on our way with an incredible cup of coffee and a good-natured wink. Then he says something we really like. A personal catchphrase that makes us wonder whether this young pioneer might actually run for office someday: “Hope is not a plan.” Viva la revolucíon.

ArtisansLabel.com

Le Sacre Du Printemps

Le Sacre Du Printemps

The lights come up on the McKinney Theater stage, illuminating a twisted metal tree hung with feathers, bones, and a scarlet red dress. The vibrant abstract backdrop frames two musicians each seated at grand pianos in eerie silhouette. As the haunting first notes of le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring) are played, dancers clad in simple white dresses begin to enter the space. At first their movements are delicate and timid, but as the piece progresses the music becomes more powerful, and the twenty female dancers’ choreography also becomes more aggressive and dynamic. The audience sits on the edge of their seats as the performers dance out the story of a dramatic tribal ritual, ending with the sacrifice of one of the maidens. As the lights come up for the bow and the last notes of music fade away, the release of tension is palpable, and the audience finally takes a breath, breaking into enthusiastic applause for the Saddleback College students.

2013 year marks the one hundred year anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky for the Ballets Russes; this Paris premiere caused one of the largest theater riots in history, revolutionized music, and helped to push ballet into the modern age. In celebration of the centennial of this seminal twentieth-century work of art; Saddleback College showcased Stravinsky’s epic score with two performances of his Music for Four Hands version, played live by college music professors Norman Weston and Kirill Gliadkovsky, accompanied by a premiere of new choreography by dance professor Deidre Cavazzi. “We are thrilled to bring the dance, music and theater arts departments of Saddleback College together for this production, in the spirit of the original 1913 Ballets Russes piece, which merged the visions of artists like Igor Stravinsky, Vaslav Nijinsky, and Nicholas Roerich”, says Cavazzi, “The students are so passionate about this project, and they’ve been really excited to learn more about the history of Rite of Spring in the process of setting this new version of choreography. It’s also such a treat for the dancers to perform with live music and to have student artists creating paintings for the piece.” The Stravinsky score is incredibly complex, with the dancers switching time signatures and concentrating to keep count in ever-changing tempos. The piece is 35 minutes in length, and the dancers remain on stage the entire time, immersing the audience in the journey of the tribe. The beautiful abstract paintings created by professor Karen McNulty’s scenic design students brought the space to life, and audiences mingled after the performances at a silent art auction, bidding on the paintings that had been part of the show.

The performances were preceded by a short presentation about the hundred-year history of Rite of Spring in the fields of both music and dance. Norman Weston played excerpts for the audience, discussing their importance and showing how they redefined music in the modern era. He explained that “the Rite of Spring is perhaps the single most iconic piece of music of the 20th century. In this work, Stravinsky’s approaches to rhythm, harmony, melody and orchestration were all revolutionary. And yet, even though the work is radical on so many levels, and still sounds as if it could have been written yesterday, it managed, after an admittedly rocky premiere, to achieve universal acceptance fairly quickly. That, to me, is one of the most remarkable things about it.” Deidre Cavazzi also shared the infamous and influential story of the premiere, describing how Nijinsky’s choreography was lost for 75 years, inspiring countless artists to create their own versions and also discussing her process working with the students over the past few months.

The extraordinary score, coupled with vibrant new art and Cavazzi’s powerful choreography, captivated audiences in early February, and will hopefully inspire future interdisciplinary productions at the college infused with similar creativity and passion.