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A Mix of Dance Genres Makes for Toe-Tapping Festival:

Heels will click and feet will stomp in Venice on September 11, when the third annual MixMatch Dance Festival hits the stage at the Electric Lodge. The three-day dance extravaganza showcases all kinds of talent across a wide range of genres, including hip-hop, ballet, tribal and more.

Launched in 2007 by Hart Pulse Dance Company, the multi-genre festival was designed to bring dance to an intimate theatre at a reasonable price.

Amanda Hart, producer and director of The MixMatch Dance Festival, received her BFA in Dance from The California Institute of the Arts, and soon teamed up with fellow Cal Arts alumni, Sandra Rasor, to produce the first MixMatch Dance festival.

“We really wanted to put a show together that had a bunch of different styles in one performance, to maximize dance exposure,” Hart said. “We had seen such a huge reaction to the TV show “So You think You Can Dance,” and they do salsa, contemporary, everything you can imagine. We thought something like that would be great for the community.”

Hart and Rasor also had the goal of making dance an art form that all people could enjoy, as opposed to an exclusive experience for people of a certain income.

“It’s great to go to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, but not everyone can afford that,” Hart said. “If you don’t have the money, you can only get nosebleed seats at large venues like that. But with our shows, the theatre is small, so you are up close no matter where you sit. It is really about accessibility.”

The first annual festival brought only a handful of submissions, but the numbers doubled in 2008. This year, Hart had to turn people away because the rate of submissions was so high. Fifteen choreographers from all over the world will present pieces at the festival, including Asian-inspired movement pieces that Hart describes as “really beautiful.” It’s a 90-minute show, a tidy time limit Hart insisted upon to ensure a firm hold on audiences’ attention.

Though she lives in Pasadena, Hart said Venice has always been the festival’s home, and she hopes that tradition will continue.

“Venice is such a great artistic community,” Hart said. “And the theatre itself is so beautiful. We chose that venue because we had heard the Electric Lodge was a really hot spot for independent artists.”

Those who show up during the three-day run should expect to be exposed to diversity, not just on stage, but in the audience too.

“One of the things I love about the festival is that I see all kinds of people in the audience, from young people in flip-flops and jeans to older people who are all dressed up,” Hart said. “The audience is as mixed as the playbill.”

Tickets to the festival are $13. For more information, call 661.755.2182, email [email protected] or visit www.HartPulseDance.com. September 11 and 12 at 8:30pm, September 13 at 2pm. The Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave.,Venice. Free Parking or Blue Bus #2.

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