APRIL 2017

FloArts Dance Ensemble presents “An Evening of Dance”

FloArts dancers
ballet dancers

The Florida School of the Arts will present “An Evening of Dance” April 13 – 16 on the School’s main stage located on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5.

The show concludes the Dance Ensemble’s season with a night of family-friendly contemporary, jazz and ballet works. The performance will highlight the Ensemble’s classical training, including choreography by nationally recognized faculty and guest artists, and will feature the one-act ballet “The Firebird.”

According to FloArts dance instructor Mary Love Ward, “The Dance Ensemble rehearses regularly throughout the school year and provides students with the opportunity to experience the rehearsal and choreographic process as preparation for life in a professional dance company. Dance Ensemble performers work directly with choreographers in the artistic process, which gives them insight into some of the nuances of the creation and development of a dance from beginning to end.”

Performances with guest choreography will include “Encore,” choreographed by Daniel Gwirtzman, an internationally recognized choreographer and director of the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company based in New York City.  Gwirtzman came to restage this work as part of “The Encore Project,” a tour of special performances by numerous schools and companies across the nation. The FloArts dance program is honored to join other prestigious dance programs, including the University of Florida and the Joffrey Ballet School, in presenting “The Encore Project.”

“Encore” is a contemporary dance with references to musical theater. The dance allows the audience to access a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in the planning and rehearsing of a dance performance. This lighthearted work is full of tenderness, humor and energy.

Also included is a dance film created and commissioned specifically for FloArts dance students by Three Hearts Dance, a professional dance company based in Jacksonville and directed by Lexi Bristol. Bristol joined FloArts faculty and students for three intensive days to choreograph and film the dance, which will be edited by Will Darden of Eriden Images. “Working with these elite artists helps our students gain professional experiences,” Ward said. “Since the guests come and work intensively with our students for a short period of time, it prepares our dance majors for the demands of working in a professional dance company.”

The feature presentation is “The Firebird Ballet,” directed and choreographed by dance faculty Jessica Mayhew Borrero and Mary Love Ward. “The Firebird Ballet,” originally performed by the Ballet Russe in the early 20th century, is a modern ballet that explores the concept of sacrifice and selflessness.  The captivating music composed by Igor Stravinsky sets a dynamic backdrop to this magical story.  The Firebird saves the lives of the heroic Prince Ivan and Princess Vasilissa, captives of the evil magician Kostchei, who has stolen the gift of eternal life from the magical Firebird. “Set in an enchanted garden, this touching story of love and sacrifice unfolds with original contemporary ballet choreography,” Ward said. “The costumes and theatrical sets further enhance the beauty of this story. The FloArts production and costume design students had the opportunity to collaborate with faculty to create a unique vision which transforms the stage into a fantastic landscape.”

Students performing in “An Evening of Dance” include Robert Allen, Ursala Allen, Cameron Bartelt, Mitchel Burns, Yul Carrion, Austin Carroll, Kacey Clark, Markeith Douse, Bella Guzman, Gordia Hayes, Timothy Lake, Ashley Mercado, Savannah Mitchell, Pascale Molina, Havilah Moore, Yasmin Rohena, Justin Savage, Emerson Smith Von-Weigen and Mark Wildman.

Countless hours are dedicated to the backstage magic and mayhem that result in a flawless performance. This collaboration of faculty members and talented students includes Robert O’Leary, scenic and lighting design faculty supervisor; Emily Strickland, costume faculty supervisor; Tiffany Jordan, costume shop manager; J. H. Gallardo, costume coordinator; Emily Skinner, stage manager; Angel Warren, assistant stage manager; Kylee Risdon, production stage manager; John Robinson, master carpenter and lighting board operator; Braden Harrington, sound board and projection operator; and Katrina Babitzke, properties master.    

Lighting design will be provided by design and production students Brittany Posso, Babitzke, Harrington and William Searcy Holley IV. 

The costume construction crew includes Steven Austin, Tori Blair, Caitlin Charrier, Mitchell Collins, Sarah Cox, Gallardo, Guzman, Alicia Hill, Uvenka Jean-Baptiste, Brianna Osmond, Katy Page, Brooke Ponitz, Libby Rodriguez, Skinner, Warren and Alexa Williams. 

Carpenters, scenic painters and stage electricians include Samuel Alvarado, Babitzke, Olivia Bleak, Matias De La Flor, Marcus Donaldson, Devin Fuentes, Martin Hamilton, Harrington, Holley IV, Bethany McLain, Posso, Risdon and Robinson.

Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree. The School serves the entire state of Florida and is located on the SJR State Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit the website at

Florida School of the Arts students Austin Carroll and Havilah Moore rehearse for the annual Florida School of the Arts performance “An Evening of Dance.” Each year, the dance, costume and stage design programs join together to create a colorful and exciting evening of imagery and movement. The show runs April 13-15 at 7:30 p.m. and April 16 at 2:30 p.m. on the school’s main stage.

Florida School of the Arts students Markeith Douse (left), as Prince Ivan, and Gordia Hayes (right), as the evil magician Kostchei, rehearse for “The Firebird Ballet,” a modern ballet which explores the concept of sacrifice and selflessness.  The dance will be featured during the school’s annual performance “An Evening of Dance,” which runs April 13-16 on the FloArts main stage.  Admission is $5. 

Florida School of the Arts students Markeith Douse, as Prince Ivan, and Ashley Mercado, as Princess Vasilissa, rehearse for “The Firebird Ballet,” which will be featured during the School’s annual performance “An Evening of Dance.”



Susan Kessler
Director of Public Relations and Publications
(386) 312-4020