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


Courtesy ABC

Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Alicia Mae Holloway Talks About Her Time on ABC's “The Bachelor”

Bunheads tuning in to the season premiere of ABC's "The Bachelor" on January 4 may have recognized a familiar face: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alicia Mae Holloway, literally bourréeing out of a limousine to greet bachelor Matt James. While Holloway unfortunately didn't get a rose that night, she did thoroughly enjoy being the long-running reality franchise's first professional-ballerina contestant, as she told Pointe in a recent Zoom call.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Carla Fracci and Stephen Jefferies in "La Esmeralda" (1987)

Carla Fracci, a former principal dancer of La Scala Ballet in Milan, is among the rare class of ballerinas who continued to perform into her 50s and beyond. Romantic ballets were her calling card throughout her career. In 1987, when Fracci was 51, she was featured in a television special, dancing reconstructed 19th-century ballets in the style of historical ballerinas. In this clip of La Esmeralda from the program, Fracci and her partner Stephen Jefferies, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, deliver an extraordinary performance, capturing the verve and spirit of their characters.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Make the Most of Performance Opportunities in a Pandemic?

My school is connected to a professional company that operates on a show-to-show basis. Students can audition for company performances when they're 15. My 15th birthday is in February, and I think that our directors are choosing people to participate in virtual performances based off of whether they have performed with the company before. This was supposed to be my big first year with the company, but COVID-19 has changed that. How do I make it known that I want to participate? Do you think I should wait until things are more normal? —Lila
Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks