LifestyleShining A Light


Dance Theater of Florida lifting students up

'Nutcracker' performance this weekend in Palm Beach Gardens
Posted at 6:08 AM, Dec 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-04 06:08:19-05

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A breathtaking full production of The Nutcracker is set to take the stage this weekend at the Eissey Campus Theater in Palm Beach Gardens.

  • Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.  
  • Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. 
  • Tickets start at $30

"Many families just make it an annual event. It's just such a tradition. It just brings joy to so many people's lives," said Michele Zehner, the executive director of the Florida School for Dance Education. "People always walk out just amazed at what they just saw."
As ballet dancers are set to tip toe to the rhythms of composer Tchaikovsky, some of the performers may have not had access to the performing arts if it wasn't for the efforts of the Dance Theater of Florida.

"We bring dance to communities that might not have the opportunity to know about dance or have dance,' said Danielle Armstrong, a board member of Florida School for Dance Education which is a nonprofit, pre-professional company.

"We students that we find that have talent we bring dance into their school and give them an opportunity. And we then offer them scholarships," Armstrong said.

The organization targets at Title I schools, more specifically second graders, who they say are the most receptive. Those schools, they said, are missing arts programs to have more of a focus on academics.

Dance Theater of Florida said it has a roaster of success stories.

"We have students that have gone on to be Rockettes to be on Broadway who have been in dance companies all over the world," Armstrong said.

One student was on a full scholarship that went to Bak Middle School of the Arts and Dreyfoos School of the Arts and had a full scholarship to Butler University, leaving the program to be a backup dancer for Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour.

"We think you'll be amazed at the talent and what dance theater Florida has to offer," Armstrong said.