Shared from the 12/17/2016 Palm Beach Post eEdition


Ballet Palm Beach plans ‘Nutcracker’ at Kravis in 2017


Ballet Palm Beach has performed “The Nutcracker” at The Eissey Campus Theatre, but next year it’ll put on the show at the Kravis Center. DAMON HIGGINS / THE PALM BEACH POST

Ballet Palm Beach continues to be the little local ballet company that could.

Except, it’s not so little anymore, as it eyes a monumental step in its 23-year-old tenure in Palm Beach County.

For the first time next year, the company will perform “The Nutcracker” at the Kravis Center, thanks to a $40,000 donation from Lighthouse Partners, a Palm Beach Gardens investment firm.

“It’s so exciting,” said company founder and artistic director, Colleen Smith. “Our first studio was in a room over my garage. Now all these years later, this gives us legitimacy. It says this company has enough clout to be at the Kravis.”

The ballet company has begun raising an additional $40,000 to meet the $80,000 cost of mounting the beloved holiday ballet at Palm Beach County’s premiere performing arts venue.

The leap onto the Kravis Center stage cements the 16-member company’s (with seven trainees and a dance school) place as the inheritor of the pointe shoes Ballet Florida left empty when it filed for bankruptcy in 2009. (A West Palm Beach dance training academy has adopted the Ballet Florida name but is not a professional company.)

Nutcracker performances tend to be big money makers for ballet companies, when parents bring children to see an accessible ballet fairy tale set during Christmas.

Smith promises the Kravis audience will see a lavish and entirely new production of the Christmas classic, scheduled for Dec. 2 and 3, 2017.

“We know that this is alot of people’s first experience at the ballet, so I want it to be special,” Smith said. “I want it to be magical.”

Gone will be the 20-year-old Mother Ginger children’s costumes Smith cut out on her living room floor. She’s planning new costumes, new sets and new choreography to tell the story of Clara and her Prince in the Land of Sweets.

The company will continue to present its other performances at the Eissey Campus Theatre at Palm Beach State University’s Palm Beach Gardens campus, the company’s long-time home.

Next up are three performances of “Romeo & Juliet” on Feb. 18 and 19.

Twitter: @Bmarshallpbp

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