Lumina Academy of Dance

Lumina Academy of Dance in Pasadena, CA, is a small, charming community-oriented center for cultural exchange and intercultural understanding through international dance styles....

  • About The Studio
  • Meet The Director
  • Studio Details
  • Visiting The Studio

About Lumina Academy of Dance

The founder ofLuminaAcademy of Dance in Pasadena, CA, a community center for cultural exchange through dance, has a natural interest in intercultural understanding. In her native Argentina, co-owner and director Fatima Mendoza grew up with parents belonging to recent immigrant families from Syria and Spain. Most of Lumina Academy’s classes—in Brazilian samba, Spanish flamenco, Middle Eastern belly dance, and other international dance styles—are taught by natives of the countries the dances come from.

“I like to have hip hop here because I think that it’s really representative of the culture inL.A.,” Fatima says.

“It doesn’t stay in the dance class. It transcends.”

In recent years, hip-hop offerings have included a long-runningbreakdanceclass taught byBboyAnacron that we had hoped to cover on the site. Currently, there’s no class dedicated solely to hip-hop dance. We love this studio’s recognition of hip hop as an American cultural art and are confident thatLuminaAcademy shares our hope to see more of it return. So feel free to express your interest!

But hip hop isn’t the only American dance style Lumina Academy wants to offer. Fatima feels country dancing is an important root of American cultural dance, and she’s interested in adding a country line dancing class to enrich Lumina Academy’s representation of American heritage.

Fatima enjoys sharing the Syrian side of her heritage through teaching belly dance at the studio. Learning international dance styles, she says, inspires Lumina Academy’s students to take a deeper interest in the cultures that created them.

“It doesn’t stay in the dance class,” Fatima says. “It transcends.”

Lumina Academy tango students have traveled to Argentina to dance at amilonga(tango party), and a group of flamenco students visited Spain. Some of the studio’s belly dance students have traveled to Egypt.

Fatima now has a diaspora of students who took classes at Lumina Academy and later returned to their home countries. Many have continued with the dance styles they learned and still keep in touch.

Situated in a beautiful Pasadena neighborhood of broad streets and grassy lawns, Lumina Academy is one block north of Marshall Fundamental High School. Small local shops form a low-key one-block business district in this quiet residential neighborhood. Nearby streets are lined with homes, and in the evening neighbors walk their dogs past the studio. On the corner across the street from the high school, Lumina Academy welcomes dancers with its bright green awnings.

A Teacher’s Valentine

On Valentine’s Day 2010, one of the many e-mails Fatima received from her students was from a woman who had learned belly dance from her. The woman wrote that she had finally found a belly dance class in her home country, Korea.

Fatima was thrilled, as the belly dance student had been corresponding with her for a month, writing, “I am looking for the class and I am not finding it!”

“We just put a little seed there in her heart about this dance,” Fatima says. “And now she’s just letting it grow, as a beautiful plant.”

That, Fatima says, is the whole idea behind Lumina Academy.


Meet Fatima Mendoza

Lumina Academy co-owner and director Fatima Mendoza loves to spend time at home with her husband and young son and daughter. The family enjoys trying international dishes Fatima cooks from recipes her students suggest to her. Fatima performed the tango as a member of two professional dance companies in her native Argentina.



All the Details: Lumina Academy of Dance

Contacting the Studio

The best way to reach the studio is by phone. Reply turnaround for a voice message is usually 1-2 days (longer over weekends).

Reply turnaround for an e-mail is usually 2-3 days (longer over weekends).

Studio Hours

The studio is open during class hours.

Studio News

E-Mail List

Lumina Academy of Dance has an e-mail list.

How to Join the E-Mail List

To join the Lumina Academy e-mail list, send a request by e-mail to the studio.

Class Information

Class Schedule

The class schedule is listed on the page for each individual dance style (linked from Lumina Academy’s home page; see Studio Info box in sidebar). The site is not always updated with the latest information, so be sure to call the studio to confirm classes you are interested in.

Classes can fill up, so please call the studio in advance to reserve a spot!

Class Prices

Information on class prices is available on the web site. You can also call the studio to inquire, or request a brochure. The studio will be glad to mail you a brochure, or send a scanned copy of the brochure by e-mail.

Visiting Lumina Academy of Dance

Policies and Things to Know

Being On Time

It’s okay if you’re running late to class. The studio is flexible on this.

Age Range

The minimum age for teen/adult classes is 14 if accompanied by a parent and 17 if attending solo.

Class Payment

The studio accepts payment by cash or check.

No Smoking

By Pasadena city ordinance, no smoking is permitted within 20 feet of the studio.

First-Time Students

The studio’s advice for first-time Lumina Academy dancers is simple: “Come positive and wanting to dance!”

Water and Snacks


The studio provides free room-temperature water from a water cooler.


The studio does not sell snacks. Lumina Academy is in a residential neighborhood, located in a one-block business district surrounded by homes and a high school. Nearby shops are not food-oriented, so we recommend bringing something with you if you think you’ll be hungry.

Studio Features and Amenities

Changing for Class

[Awaiting update for new studio location]

Front Desk and Waiting Area

[Awaiting update for new studio location]

Finding the Studio

Lumina Academy of Dance is situated in a corner unit. The doors are inside a small covered entrance at the corner of the building, beneath bright green awnings with white lettering. The studio is directly north of Marshall Fundamental High School.


Street Parking

Plentiful unmetered, unrestricted street parking is available within blocks of Lumina Academy. Some streets are briefly metered or time-restricted close to Allen Ave, but turn to unrestricted parking 1-3 blocks away from the studio.

Watch out for parking restrictions on the blocks surrounding Marshall Fundamental High School.

Public Transportation

Lumina Academy by Bus

The L.A. Metro bus appears to have pretty good service to the block the studio is on, both weekdays and weekends. (See Timetables and System Maps tabs.)

LuminaAcademy by Subway

Tthe L.A. Metro’s Gold Line train will get you within 10 blocks or so of the studio. Get off at the Allen stop and walk straight north on Allen Ave.

For details, visit the L.A. Metro’sL.A. Metro maps and timetables. Select the “Line Maps” tab and see the PDFs under “Gold Line.”

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