Ballet Florida presented its latest performance, VISION, just days before the theatre closed due to the coronavirus. Like many companies, Ballet Florida, was taken by surprise at the abrupt end to their season, and like many companies, it turned to social media to keep its students and audiences engaged.
Ballet Florida is located north of Miami, in beautiful West Palm Beach. Originally founded in 1985 it closed its company and school in 2009. Lauren Carey resurrected it in 2014. She grew up around the company and wished to see it functioning again.
A graduate of The Juilliard School in New York City and New York University ( Masters of Arts ) she brought a part of the New York City dance experience back with her to West Palm Beach. The company is youthful and energetic with an emphasis on Contemporary dance, pieces range from ballet to performing to a live jazz band on stage.”We adapt and adjust to what our audiences are looking for,” says Carey. On its webpage, it states its mission is to support dance creation and education as well as to deepen the public appreciation of dance as an art form.
VISION was composed of six different pieces. The first was Synchronicity of Four which was choreographed by Guy Beaumont Palmer and featured one man and three women. Next was Tethered Dreams, a very grounded piece for six women and choreographed by Los Angeles artist Genna Moroni. The End. And Again was choreographed by Carey and explored aspects of relationships. For the second half of the program, Carey says she wanted to break the fourth wall between the audience and the artists. To this end, there was a live jazz band named
Jazz Band Musicians with piano, drums, and bass on stage. Carey performed a duet with Zack Tang titled Handle with Care, Tang was also the choreographer.
Carey does not restrict the company to only performing on stage The company has performed at the Norton Museum as well as other site-specific venues throughout the West Palm Beach area. In seven years Carey has revived Ballet Florida and also established a school, which teaches all styles of dance.
Ballet Florida also has a northern retreat in Indian Rivers Gardens in Ft. Pierce. It is an artist retreat and is also from where Carey streams “Happy Hour” at 5:00 pm Monday- Friday. During this time she shares information about Ballet Florida and its future, It’s an interesting and informative way for people to keep in contact with the company during the coronavirus.
Carey is using this shelter- in- place period to “reflect and be off the grid, and think about what our next move is.”
“Out of the limitations that were set around us, interesting, creative things can emerge,” says Carey.