Read this piece in Florida Weekly by Steven J. Smith about our upcoming 2023-2024 season. Click here to read the original piece on their website.
ON THEIR TOES
Ballet Palm Beach announces 2023-2024 season
Ballet lovers of all ages will certainly want to give this lineup a whirl.
Colleen Smith, founding artistic and executive director of Ballet Palm Beach has announced the company’s 2023-2024 season of “Don Quixote,” “The Nutcracker,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Peter Pan & Tinker Bell,” which will play the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse and Dreyfoos Hall in West Palm Beach.
“Our goal is to let audiences experience the magic that art can do,” Smith said. “It’s a transportive thing. Whether it’s a feisty, joyful Spanish ballet, a holiday classic you’re experiencing with your family, a famous Shakespearean love story or a magical journey from the imagination of J.M. Barrie, we offer a wonderful opportunity for people to open their eyes to how the art of dance can impact them.”
The season will open Oct. 28-29 at the Rinker Playhouse with four performances of “Don Quixote,” based on the Cervantes novel. The ballet follows Quixote and his faithful squire Sancho as they journey through the Spanish countryside performing acts of chivalry. Smith said the production will feature dance blending with swashbuckling adventure as the heroes battle imaginary giants, save damsels in distress and search for Quixote’s true love.
“It’s just a joyful, wonderful ballet,” Smith said. “And my dancers can be a little feisty. We have some terrific Cuban dancers who really relate to the material and know how to do this kind of work. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for our company to master some difficult dancing that audiences will love. I like to bring a lot of joy to my theater and this is a very joyful ballet.”
Next up is “The Nutcracker,” which will play four performances Dec. 2-3 at Dreyfoos Hall at the Kravis Center. Smith said this magical holiday tradition, beloved by all, features music by Tchaikovsky and tells the story of Marie who, when given an enchanted nutcracker doll as a Christmas gift, has no idea of the adventure that awaits her.
“Toy soldier battles, giant mice and a blustery snowstorm led by a majestic Snow Queen will entertain families of all ages in this magical night of memories,” she said. “It’s a classic and we’ve done it every season at Dreyfoos Hall since 2017. We’re looking forward to bringing it back. It’s a wonderful holiday classic.”
Following the company’s annual gala of a “Venetian Masquerade” at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Ballet Palm Beach will present four performances of “Romeo and Juliet” at the Rinker Playhouse Feb. 24-25. Smith promised Shakespeare’s tragic tale will be brought to breathtaking life in this original production, as star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet struggle to be together despite the disapproval of their warring families. Aided by a sympathetic friar, they plan their escape, which leads to a tragic circumstances that ultimately bring the families together.
“Audiences will feel the love, loss and humanity in this masterpiece of dance that moves the heart and stirs the soul,” she said. “We’ve timed this ballet for just after Valentine’s Day to salute probably the most famous lovers of all time. This beautiful ballet actually features my favorite music, which is truly stunning.”
“Peter Pan & Tinker Bell” will wrap the season with four performances April 20- 21 at the Rinker Playhouse. Smith said Peter Pan and Tinker Bell’s fantastical adventures take them through Neverland, where they encounter the often-ill-behaved Lost Boys, mischievous mermaids, Princess Tiger Lily, the beautiful young queen of the Lost Boys tribe, a crocodile of monstrous proportions and the fearsome Captain Hook and his pirates.
“This cherished childhood story of a boy who never grows up is retold through original dance, fantastical sets and beautiful costumes that will charm audiences of all ages,” Smith said. “I created this ballet for the company two seasons ago. It was a sold-out smash hit then, so we’re bringing it back.”
Smith launched Ballet Palm Beach 30 years ago as a ballet school, which, after about 15 years, evolved into a dance company featuring local talent. Each year Ballet Palm Beach produces mainstage ballets as well as outreach shows, both locally and abroad.
“We grew and now we present four ballets a year,” she said. “When we began, we were located in a church and had about 60 students. Now we have around 150 students and own our own building in Palm Beach Gardens. We dance at the Kravis Center, something I couldn’t have imagined 30 years ago. We’re very good storytellers. The company has grown tremendously, from nothing to a cultural gem here in Palm Beach County. That’s really exciting.”