Promotional poster for Kenai Performers Social Dance Workshop. (Photo courtesy Kenai Performers)

Dance floor debut

Kenai Performers launch regular dance programming with weeklong social workshop

A public opportunity to get out, have fun and socialize — somewhere other than a bar — was the motivation for the launch of new dance programming at the Kenai Performers’ theater on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

Next week, a Social Dance Workshop will be held in the group’s theater, led by Arizona-based dance instructors Monique and Michael McConnell of Bee’s Knees Dance Prescott. Classes will be held Tuesday through Friday teaching varieties of swing dancing. Kenai Performers Treasurer Jodene McAuliffe said those classes are largely filled, but there will be a public dance — with no entry fee — featuring a live band on Saturday.

Dancing, McAuliffe said, is something that the Kenai Performers have been interested in hosting. She said that when they bought their own space two years ago they wanted to see it used in a variety of ways. There’s always room for more family-friendly fun in the community.

That’s why the group recently invested in a portable dance floor — a hard surface that can be deployed on top of the space’s usual carpet.

Between shows, she said, “It’s easy to get a band together and have a dance.”

McAuliffe said the plans came together when she met the McConnell’s in Arizona earlier this year. They do regular programming that looks a lot like what’s happening locally next week — a series of classes followed by a public social dance.

On Saturday, the live band — composed of local performers Doug McAuliffe, Robert Pepper, Burt Haviland and Paxton McKnight — will play jump swing and blues. The band will be made up of local talent.

The dance will be in the Kenai Performers’ theater on Kalifornsky Beach Road on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Smooth-soled dance shoes are recommended. There’s no entrance fee, but donations will be accepted toward the cost of the portable dance floor.

Going forward, McAuliffe said she’d like to see dances held roughly four times a year in the Kenai Performers’ space — but they’ll have to see where things can fit in between production schedules.

Any questions about the dance can be directed to

For more information about the Kenai Performers and other upcoming productions, visit or

This story was corrected Sept. 7 to correct the date for the social dance, which is Saturday, Sept. 9.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at

The new portable dance floor is seen in use at the Kenai Performers theater in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Jodene McAuliffe)

The new portable dance floor is seen in use at the Kenai Performers theater in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Jodene McAuliffe)

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