PUBLISHED: 7:05 PM on Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Waltz, hula or hustle your way to DanceFest 2008
Instructors from Peru, Miami, Portland and Alaska will teach classes
JUNEAU - It's time to kick off your XTRATUFs and put on some dancing shoes. The third annual Juneau DanceFest at Centennial Hall Aug. 29 - Sept. 1 promises to have the whole town swinging, waltzing and hula dancing.

This Labor Day weekend, DanceFest participants will have the opportunity to learn one, or a dozen, different dances from the cha-cha to the hustle. New dances this year include Hula and slow dancing. For the first time, intermediate level dance classes will be offered for experienced dancers but the festival remains committed to providing instruction for those who are new to the dance floor. Come with or without a partner: instructions will usually encourage switching partners frequently.

CCW file photos
  DanceFest participants will have the opportunity to learn about a dozen difference dance routines. New this year will be hula and slow dancing.
"Beginners are definitely welcome," said coordinator Heather Haugland. "One of our goals is to introduce people to dance."

Haugland and Tim Adair started DanceFest in 2006, inspired by the popular dances during Folk Fest.

"Every year at Folk Fest, I saw how people responded to the dances," Haugland said. "I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if we had a festival just focused on dance.'"

Haugland and her husband, Antonio Diaz, are returning to Juneau from Peru to teach salsa, rueda and bachata at this year's DanceFest. Other dance instructors are coming from Miami, Portland, Anchorage and Fairbanks. Classes are one hour long and typically have anywhere from 10 to 50 participants.

Dancers will be able to practice their new moves at the evening dances, featuring dance performances and live music Friday and Saturday and DJ tunes on Sunday. Last year's Saturday night dance and concert attracted more than 500 people.

This year's Saturday night performer will be Orlando Valle Maraca directing a 12-member group. Maraca, of Cuba, was nominated for a "Best Salsa Album" Grammy in 2003 and has won a number of awards for his energetic fusion of salsa, jazz and Afro-Cuban styles.

"Our headliner group, Maraca, is a really high caliber band," Haugland said. "We've had great bands before, but this year's band has (been nominated for) a Grammy, has several CDs out and has toured all over the world. To have that level of performer is very exciting for DanceFest."

Seattle swing band Blue 4 Trio will perform Friday night. The group's three-part harmony vocals, accompanied by a piano, ukulele, bass and drums, were a big hit when they headlined in 2006.

"I think the concerts are really a highlight of DanceFest." Haugland said. "To have these out of town bands is really great for Juneau, and Juneau should take advantage of it."

Dance Fest 4-1-1

The third annual Juneau DanceFest will take place at Centennial Hall Friday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept 1.

Individual classes are $5 each, and a weekend pass including the evening concerts is $75 for adults and $58 for students pre-sale and $85/$75 at the door. Workshop only passes are $50 adults, $40 students in advance, and $10 more at the door. To purchase weekend passes in advance contact Tim Adair at or call 789-4690.

Tickets for the Blue 4 Trio concert on Aug. 29 are $10 for adults and $8 for students in advance, and $2 more at the door. Tickets for the Maraca concert on Aug. 30 are $15 for adults and $10 for students, or $5 more at the door. Concert tickets can be purchased at Hearthside Books.

DanceFest is presented by Juneau International Folkdancers, and supported by Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, the City and Borough of Juneau and the Alaska State Council on the Arts, in additional to dozens of volunteers and sponsors. This year Juneau DanceFest will be awarding scholarships for the first time.

For more information visit or call Tim Adair at 789-4690.

Katie Spielberger can be reached at