Artistic Director, Colleen Smith, founded Florida Classical Ballet Theatre (FCBT) in 2001 to give local artists and dance students the opportunity to perform in full-length classical ballet productions. The nonprofit 501(c)(3) dance company performs four full-length productions per year including The Nutcracker, which is performed Thanksgiving weekend at the Eissey Campus Theatre at Palm Beach State College. In addition to its full-length ballets FCBT is dedicated to enriching our local community through outreach programs. FCBT partners with other nonprofit organizations to spread the beauty of the arts, specifically the art of ballet. The dance company’s outreach program, “Ballet By The Book” is a partnership with the Palm Beach County Library System that helps promote the public library system’s campaign, “Families Reading Together”. For the past three years, FCBT has visited public libraries and shared the joy of reading and dancing with local children through this outreach program.
The purpose of the public library system’s campaign is to remind the community about the importance of encouraging children to read, as well as to inspire the love of reading. Inspiration is where Artistic Director Colleen Smith and her dance company, Florida Classical Ballet Theatre come in. Each year the library assigns a children’s book to FCBT. Smith then takes the children’s literature and gives it life by interpreting the book kinesthetically through the art of dance. When visiting the libraries, Smith reads the book to the children and then her dance company performs their interpretation of the literature through dance. Young children react to dance and movement naturally and through the physicality of dance, children grasp and internalize a story in a different way. Ballet By The Book combines literature and dance demonstrating how education and the arts are truly inseparable, and by integrating them the benefits of each can be magnified.
This year Smith will read the book “Artful Reading” by Bob Raczka to children. “Artful Reading” is about the fine art of reading. The author uses simple words along with famous artwork from all different times in history. Each piece of art shows individuals or groups of people reading. The book integrates reading and artwork, FCBT will integrate the art of dance through its interpretation of the book. In addition, Smith will talk about the art of classical ballet and a dancer’s life and training.