Florida Youth Dance Gala Offers Unique Opportunity for Students

Students from The Art of Classical Ballet school in last year's gala.

Photo by Neil-Cohen Photography

 

When Mauricio Cañete retired from dancing a few years ago, he wanted to find a way to give back to the dance community. The former Houston Ballet and Ballet Florida dancer considered producing a competition or a gala of professional dancers. But he wanted to do something different.  “At the time I was guesting with a lot of schools,” says Cañete, who lives in West Palm Beach. “I realized that there were so many talented students, but that they really didn’t have the chance to perform beyond once or twice a year. I thought, why not give them the opportunity to dance in a professional environment?” The Florida Youth Dance Gala was born, with its debut held last year to sold-out audiences.

 

This year’s gala on Saturday, February 7 in West Palm Beach, will showcase over 50 student dancers from 16 academies across the state. And because there’s no competition attached, participants enjoy the benefit of performing without the pressure of being judged. “For me, being a dancer is more about the artistic side than the technical side,” says Cañete, who spends the year scouting talent by consulting with school directors and attending performances and regional competitions. “I look for students with a lot of heart, who are going to really wow the audience.” He then works with the school directors to put together a comprehensive program that includes a mix of classical, contemporary and Balanchine works. And for added inspiration, principal guest artists Adiarys Almeida and Randy Herrera are also slated to perform.

 

For tickets and more information, go to floridayouthdancegala.com.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

How Can I Stay Motivated While Training at Home?

Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."

Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.

Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Courtesy Goh Academy

Pro-Pro Priorities: The Top Skills to Focus on During Your Final Training Years

As told to Rachel Caldwell

Finding the right pre-professional training program can be daunting. Then once you're there, what should you focus on in order to succeed? To shine some light on the topic, we talked to five leading teachers and directors who have seen scores of students move on to flourishing ballet careers. Here's what they suggested for young dancers on the pre-professional track.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/21/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks