Dance Theater of Florida is a non-profit youth dance company located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It is the resident, pre-professional company of its affiliate school, Florida School for Dance Education. The company’s mission is to promote and advance the art of dance by providing training and performance opportunities for pre-professional students, superior dance productions for the general public, and the chance for underserved groups to experience the arts.
Dance Theater of Florida was founded by Michele Zehner and Maria Konrad in 2012 to address numerous educational needs in the local community of Palm Beach Gardens and in the broader community of South Florida. The Company provides local dance students the opportunity to further their artistic development and training through performing classical and contemporary repertoire in a proscenium theater equipped with professional lighting, sound, and crew.
Dance Theater presents two mainstage productions each season and offers additional performance opportunities for community outreach. While these performance experiences are an invaluable part of pre-professional dance training, they are also of great benefit to dancers with other academic and professional goals. The process of learning dance choreography (and refining it in rehearsal) builds confidence by teaching students about teamwork, group dynamics, creative problem solving, self-awareness, and resilience.
The third prong of Dance Theater’s mission addresses the inequitable access to performing arts training and productions among the citizens of South Florida. Access to dance training and performance opportunities at a private studio has become, to some degree, a function of personal family means. To mitigate this, Dance Theater was founded as a non-profit organization so that charitable funds could be raised to support student scholarships and community outreach efforts.
Dance Theater of Florida aims to develop its student dancers holistically. The Company was founded with the idea that participation would serve as a springboard to prepare students for the next stage of their professional development. For some, this means attending a collegiate dance program. For others, it means auditioning for an entry-level position with a ballet company or a Broadway production. Students who elect not to pursue dance beyond their high-school years will benefit from the self-discipline and exemplary work habits developed during their rigorous performing-arts training.
In addition to their in-studio training, students have opportunities to: develop pedagogical skills, participate in outreach programming at Title I schools, receive mentorship and coaching in the preparation of audition videos and professional résumés, and develop leadership and organizational skills through participation in the student board. All of these experiences prepare Company members to be successful in any future professional setting.
Dance Theater of Florida is an equal opportunity organization and does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, or other protected status. The organization admits students of any race or other protected status to all the rights privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to dancers in the company, and the organization does not discriminate on the basis of race or other protected status in administering its policies or programs.
Dance Theater of Florida aspires to be an inclusive dance community which values and celebrates the unique qualities of persons of diverse backgrounds and cultures. We stand in unity with our dancers and families to create an equitable community. We pledge to continue to broaden our reach and include all that wish to make our dance community a safe and accepting space.