Theatre Bethune has been a steadfast pioneer in multimedia arts, seamlessly blending ballet, jazz and modern dance with art, video, music, and special effects to create a highly unique, multi-dimensional theatrical experience. An integral part of the local cultural landscape, the highly-regarded Theatre Bethune has distinguished itself with its unusual approach to the world of dance and theatre and its early commitment to the arts and empowerment of the “differently-abled”.
Adapting its stories from artworks, screenplays, and works of literature, film, and television, Theatre Bethune believes the best way to tell a story is by marrying dramatic dance elements with cutting edge multimedia technology. Each piece is issue-oriented and socially relevant, making for a provocative and memorable theatrical event. Delivering an exciting, high concept form of entertainment, stories and characters come alive through innovative combinations of dance styles accompanied by film, video, animation, laser, and holographic projections. The Company’s dance productions push the spatial dimensions outside the usual stagecraft of dance performances, transporting the audience beyond the theatre space.
Named one of the top five dance companies in Los Angeles by Backstage West, the Company has performed in over 75 venues throughout Los Angeles, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and China and has been featured in a wide variety of film and television productions. In 1982 Theatre Bethune made its worldwide debut on the Emmy Award winning CBS special “Baryshnikov in Hollywood,” and in 1989 Ms. Bethune and Infinite Dreams wheelchair dancer Sarah Anderson received an invitation to dance at the White House and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This groundbreaking performance was eventually televised via the NBC special "From the Heart."
At the heart of the Theatre Bethune vision is the synergy of multi arts and differing abilities. In representing our society as a whole, Theatre Bethune integrates artists with different abilities in many of its productions.
Infinite Dreams is Theatre Bethune’s award-winning arts education program for disabled children and youth to learn and perform both dance and drama. Theatre Bethune was the first professional dance theatre in America to create a participatory program for disabled youngsters. This quality of life program has directly benefitted thousands of people and touched the lives of countless families. Infinite Dreams is directly responsible for helping our students become productive participants in society and in the workplace, by raising their self-esteem and empowering them to be self-sufficient. Along with our core group of Theatre Bethune artists, additional artists are drawn from worldwide companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theatre and locally based performers with extensive backgrounds in dance, theatre, film and television. Theatre Bethune blends the disciplined techniques of ballet with the dynamics of modern dance, worldwide professional dancers, actors, multimedia/video artists and artists of differing abilities to tell stories derived from literature, film, television, screenplays and artworks.
Among other productions, the Company has been featured in the award-winning PBS special “Heart Dancing” the NBC mini-series “Nutcracker: Money, Madness, Murder,” the feature film “No Way Out” and Ms. Bethune was also the subject of the documentary “Infinite Dreams in China- A Portrait of Zina Bethune,” which had its premiere at the American Film Institute.
Theatre Bethune has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations. The Company has been named an Exemplary Site in the United States by the National Endowment for the Arts and Ms. Bethune (the founder, artistic director and choreographer) has received commendations from Presidents Clinton, Bush and Reagan, The United Nations as well as Senator Dianne Feinstein. The Company has also been the recipient of many community service awards and citations from Los Angeles Mayors Villaraigosa, Hahn, Riordan, Bradley, and the Governor’s Committee for Employment of the Disabled. Please see the Awards section for a complete list of honors.