“Shall we dance?” sings Fred Astaire. Yes, Sarasota, we shall! Whether you are a fan of watching classical ballet or modern, eclectic dance, or if you like to tap, swing, tango or boogie, here are some ways to get your toes twinkling.
The Sarasota Ballet, established in 1987, is the only professional ballet company on the Gulf Coast. Under the direction of Iain Webb, who took over artistic direction for the 21-year old ballet company in 2007, Sarasota Ballet has earned international attention for its sterling dance program, which Washington Post dance critic, Sarah Kauffman, hailed as the “jewel of this year’s ‘Ballet Across America’ sampler,” in 2013. In the five years since Webb took direction over the Sarasota Ballet, the company has added nearly 90 new ballets to its repertoire, many of which have rarely been seen in the United States.
The refinement and tradition of classic ballet is contrasted by the avant-garde and diverse styles of contemporary dance. Sarasota’s Fuzión Dance Artists, formed in 2003 by Rachael Inman and Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, is Sarasota's first professional contemporary dance company. As the name implies, Fuzión fuses a variety of forms including modern, ethnic and experimental – with innovative choreography and diverse programming. Collaboration with others is a hallmark of the company’s performances, each of which include a diverse set of dancers, musicians, composers and visual artists.
Looking to support the art of dance in all its forms? Check out the Sarasota-Manatee Dance Alliance, which was created to strengthen and unite the dance community in the area. Members include dance companies, dance organizations, dance schools, choreographers, professional dancers, dance instructors, dance students, dance-related technicians, and individuals. Check out its progress – including the development of an annual “Dance for Community Day” – by ‘liking’ Sarasota-Manatee Dance Alliance on Facebook.