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Ole! Pasadena Dance Theatre Hosts First Gala in Years

Published on Monday, September 9, 2013 | 4:10 am

Every morning these skilled athletes wake up aching. Yet a viewer would never know it from watching the graceful dance performance that appear seamlessly effortless. In the dance realm a day off hardly exists, rather dancing becomes a way of life.

The Pasadena Dance Theatre held a gala Saturday evening to celebrate that way of life. The benefit sold out with over 100 guests enjoying an evening of Tapas, Music and Dance.

“We want to thank all of you who support the arts. It’s so difficult especially in these times but we hope for more nights to celebrate the art and gifts we have surrounding us,” PDT Artistic Director Cynthia Young said.

PDT dance students served the intricate meal with around ten small plates of tasty tapas catered by La Luna Negra. The thoroughly Spanish evening included paella, sangria, Spanish Wine, and salsa dancing as the finale after the beautiful ballet pieces at the conclusion of each course of dinner.

The final dance, Cantos, especially stirred emotions and brought the full experience of Spain to the Dance Theatre. Combining dance with video clips of a bullfight, the dancers vividly depicted the plight of the bull, energetic to the slow but stirring death.

“They really put together a wonderful evening,” Edmund Shaff said.

Moved by the death of his sister in April, Associate Director Laurence Blake choreographed a surprisingly ethereal and flowy dance piece rather than his usual rhythmic dances.

“This is my homage to her, like a eulogy. The piece shows how I would like to remember her,” Blake said.

For Jessamyn Vedro the night was one to remember. After 23 years, Vedro is taking a pause in her dancing career, making the gala event her last dance. The artistic directors made a video with clips from all Vedro’s dances since she was a young girl.

“It’s bittersweet. I am excited about the new chapter in my life but this has been part of my life since I can remember. It will be really hard to have it not be a major part of my life. Every year, every piece that we’ve done leaves me a special memory. But I am excited to immerse myself in something different and have an actual social life,” Vedro said.

Vedro will begin a job at a law firm. While she was dancing full time for PDT she made it through law school and has been working for the Federal Courts the last two years. She will be greatly missed at the dance company and Cynthia Young hopes she will be back.

The evening will benefit the conservatory to keep the high level of training for the young girls hoping to dance professionally. The benefit will help uphold this nonprofit’s mission to bring professional dance and dance education to the community of Pasadena.

Pasadena Dance Theatre has all variety of ages, starting with three-year-old dancers up to adult. The PDT Conservatory is the school that feeds the to the company.

“In my opinion the school facilitates the company,” Nancy Doede said, a mother of one of the professional dancers. “This company does a superb job of training the dancers.”

For more information about the Pasadena Dance Theatre and to see the next performance visit

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