Congratulations to 2017 Laguna Dance Festival Scholarship Winners

Laguna Dance Festival offers scholarships to young dancers ages 15-19. This year’s Scholarship applications open, July,2018.  Please check back at that time for more information.

Alexandra Carey

I started training when I was six years old, and I immediately fell in love with dance.I was able to take ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern classes, and dance history. Ballet spoke to me the most.Everything about it appealed to me- the movement, the different styles, how it felt to point my feet. The moment I knew I wanted to pursue dance as a career was the first time I went on pointe. Even though I was only ten years old, I knew I wanted to feel that same excitement every day.

Shery Gilbert inspired me to focus more on my ballet training. My training included master classes and private lessons with dancers and Artistic Directors from Laguna Dance Festival, San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Staatsballet Berlin, and Wiener Staatsballet. In each class, I learned advanced technique, nuances, and how to be stage ready.

While at Laguna Dance Theatre, myPrincipal roles included: Paquita, Sugar Plum Fairy, Odette/Odile, and Aurora. I performed in the Pas de Deuxand Codas as well as the variations. Last year I trained in the advanced level at San Francisco Ballet School. During my first year of training with San Francisco Ballet, I performed in seventeen of thirty-four performances of The Nutcracker, in both Snow Corps and Waltz of the Flowers. Due to an injury, I was forced to go home, preventing me from completing the year-end exams. I am now fully healed and excited to return to San Francisco to continue my training. In the next two years, I want to have a contract with San Francisco Ballet. It is my dream to be a part of the Company. I love that each dancer is capable of showing their technique and can have a quality of performing that is unlike any other company.

Emily Eckert

Emily Eckert trains intensely in ballet, contemporary, and commercial dance at pre-professional levels. She attends Southland Ballet Academy under the direction of Salwa Rizkalla and receives instruction from Hanna Przyludzka-Karacica and Natalie Matsuura. Emily has worked privately with and performed contemporary choreography by Sabrina Phillip, Asuka Kondoh, Megan Guise, Andrea Schermoly, and Renee Kester. She attended Joffrey San Francisco on scholarship, led by Artistic Director Josie Walsh, for two summers and partook in Josie’s performance piece both years. She did Entity Contemporary Dance’s Winter Intensive, taking class from Will Johnston and Marissa Osato as well as other company members. Emily danced in Festival Ballet Theater’s Secret Garden, a full-length contemporary ballet production with direction from Josie Walsh, and Don Quixote with direction from Salwa Rizkalla. She also appeared in two of Orange County Ballet Theater’s Momentum productions and danced in pieces by Viktor Kabaniaev. Additionally, she takes master classes hosted by Laguna Dance Festival, Edge Performing Arts Center, and Broadway Dance Center. The workshops include teachers such as Jodie Gates, director of University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, and Tina Berkett, cofounder of Body Traffic. Emily advanced to the semifinals as a non-classical dancer for the Music Center’s Spotlight and had the opportunity to take class from Kyle Abraham. She also performed at Laguna Dance Festival’s Gala as a featured dancer. In addition to industry dance conventions, Emily attended Youth American Grand Prix for two years and placed in the top 12 for non-classical dance both years.

Jocelyn Magana

Jocelyn Magana started dancing at the age of 9 at The Wooden Floor, previously known as Saint Josephs Ballet. There she learned modern, ballet and improvisation under the instruction of Rebeca Ramos, Jenn Bonfil, Yvette Hunt, and Melanie Rios Glaser. Through The Wooden Floor she was able to work alongside choreographers such as John Heginbotham and Laurel Jenkins. In addition to having worked with different choreographers, she performed in different theaters such as the Irvine Barclay Threatre and REDCAT.

While The Wooden Floor is her home studio, Jocelyn began to attend the Orange County School of the Arts for dance. There she was admitted into the International Dance conservatory where she learned flamenco, ballet folklorico, ballet and modern. Jocelyn learned under the instruction of Marlene Pena-Marin, Richard Chavez, Jonathan Nieves, Cristiana Mann, and Amanda White. She took additional dance classes at Orange County School of the Arts under Marlene Hall for ballet, Shannon Zimmerman for tap and Casey Garritano for jazz. Through Orange County School of the Arts Jocelyn performed at the Margaret A Webb Theatre and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Jocelyn has also attended at the Backhausdance summer intensive for three summers in a row. During the intensive she learned Backhausdance repertory and had master classes with Dale Merrill, Ido Tadmor, Cyrus Parker-Jeannette, and Omar Olivas. At the end of the intensive, all the participants performed at the Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University.

Jocelyn obtained much knowledge about dance and is fortunate to have been accepted to California State University, Long Beach for dance. Here she will learn from Keith Johnson, Lorin Johnson, and many more. She hopes to receive her BFA in dance to then become a professional dancer.

Marcus Sergeant

Marcus started his dance training at the age of 12 at a small studio where he trained in mostly jazz, contemporary, and ballet. However he soon fell in love dance and couldn’t get enough, so he auditioned for a well known arts school; OCSA.

Marcus is now a Junior at Orange County School of the Arts in the Commercial Dance where he trained extensively in most styles. Marcus often dances for Josie Walsh in her company BalletRED, he loves BalletRED because it’s mixture of styles like contemporary, B-Boy, and contemporary. Josie Walsh is such a visionary and allows for her dancers to offer ideas to further intertwine and detail her work. Marcus has performed in shows such as Josie Walsh’s adaptation of Secret Garden and The Katie Show. He also trains almost everyday at Dmitri Kulev Classical ballet and with Jessie Rileys Westside Dance Project. He hopes to attend college next year and is lookingforward to it, Marcus dreams of attending USC, Juilliard, or SUNY Purchase to help further his training in contemporary, ballet and any other style he can get!




Since 2005, LDF has evolved into an integral part of the art scene in Laguna Beach. We have expanded our free performances and educational programming while continuing to present world-class dance.  More than 75 performances, over 100 Master classes started a scholarship fund in 2016 for young artists.

This is our 4th award it is our privilege to present the 2017 LDF scholarship to someone who has been dancing since she was 6 years old. Her teachers praise her as a dedicated, talented dancer with strong leadership skills. She wants to pursue a teaching career and most importantly, she is a kind and caring individual. Jordan Burton.

LDF 2017 Scholarship Winner: Jordan Burton