Celebrate Mother’s Day early with breakfast and a ballet performance by the dancers from Ballet Palm Beach, formerly the Florida Classical Ballet Theatre.
In 2001, artistic director and founder Colleen Smith wanted to give local artists and dance students the opportunity to perform in full-length classical ballet productions so she started the Florida Classical Ballet Theater. She wanted to widen the scope for dancers but she also wanted to bring ballet to everyone in Palm Beach County who wanted to see it.
What started out with a performance of The Nutcracker has grown each year. “Next season, we’re doing five shows,” Smith said by phone.
One way Palm Beach Ballet serves Palm Beach County is through its community outreach and education programs. One collaboration with the Palm Beach County Library System and the Literacy Coalition has Smith adapting children’s literature into dance. Free performances are held at local libraries, schools, and nonprofit organizations. Called Ballet by the Book, the goal is to encourage reading by dancing to compelling story.
“What you see is our own original work,” Smith said. “We’re not as small as you might think. This season, 35 of our students performed in our productions. And we travel. This year we’re going to perform in Croatia.”
Ballet Palm Beach dancers might rehearse 40 hours in any given week to get ready for a performance. The hard work paid off.
“We laid great groundwork, and our students and audiences grew. We had been using professionals as guest dancers, but we decided to hire the professionals so they’d be more than just guests, they’d be on site to mentor.”
The caliber of the dancers caught the eyes of audiences and even the people at the Kravis Center were impressed. “We’ve been invited to be part of the Kravis Center’s STARS programming next season,” Smith said.
The breakfast is a fund-raiser but it’s only one of several events designed to raise money for the non-profit. Even the junior dancers are helping. “They’re making hairbows,” Smith said, “and they sold $129 worth! It’s so heartwarming to see the kids take the initiative. It’s a labor of love, and everyone is committed.”
Breakfast and Ballet begins with a full breakfast of of eggs, bacon, sausage, and home fries from Brio Tuscan Grille alongside Williams-Sonoma’s famous pancakes, muffins, scones, cappuccino, and espresso. They’ll even have cupcake decorating for the kids.
Can’t make the breakfast? The company’s final performance of the season, “Short Stories,” a collection of ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, Aurora’s Wedding and Fish Tales, takes place May 17. Tickets, $15, are available at 561-207-5900 or fcbt.org
Breakfast with Ballet Palm Beach
When: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday
Where: The Gardens Mall, outside Williams-Sonoma, 3101 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens.
Tickets: $25 adult, $15 children
Info: 561-630-8235; www.fcbt.org