Intent on creating a space for quality dance performances, apprentice dancers, and community art appreciation, Bernadette Clements Sims founded Northwest Florida Ballet in 1969. Over the next 40 years, the group recruited former student and acclaimed dancer Todd Eric Allen to serve as artistic director and moved into the 13,000-square-foot Sybil Smith Lebherz Center for Dance Education. In addition to pirouetting alongside the Atlantic Ballet and Miami City Ballet, Northwest Florida Ballet graces the stage with dance-driven versions of classic literature, student concerts, and famous Stanley Cup championships. Ballet, hip-hop, and jazz dance classes allow novice danseurs and danseuses their own stage time, and Northwest Florida Ballet's Académie, aimed at third through eighth graders, combines academic lessons from certified elementary teachers with artistic training from ballet pros. Before practicing choreographed prancing, students can stock up on dancewear at Northwest Florida Ballet's boutique.
Inside the 2,100-square-foot facility, two isolation rooms and a live room accommodate solo artists and string ensembles, whose work is captured by a 48-track digital recording platform. During sets, performers can enhance their recordings with tracks from an extensive sample library and take creative breaks in the lounge or on the patio. Many recording packages also include open bar and catering for those who need drinks or gourmet cupcakes to get the creative juices following.
In addition to music producers, the company also employs a staff of graphic designers who await direction for projects such as media kits and website design. Additionally, the facility houses a video-production suite that is calibrated for all aspects of visual projects, including mapped acoustics and setups for aggressive lighting.
The professional pilots at Timberview Helicopters ferry passengers high into the clouds aboard a sky-scraping whirlybird during flight tours through Destin, Kansas City, and Key West. Having chartered flights for National Geographic and the Travel Channel, these pilots expertly navigate planes toward sweeping, picturesque views, allowing sightseers to steal glances of Fort Walton Beach, downtown Kansas City, and Key West's ocean views from a perspective normally reserved for birds and astronauts with binoculars. Additionally, their high-definition videos grant guests a lasting commemoration of their in-flight experience. When they're not chartering tours, they teach budding pilots the gravity-defying tricks of their trade through pilot training and lug precious shipments from port to port with their cargo-lifting services.
Winner of Parents Connect's 2009 Parent's Pick award for best local art class, Abrakadoodle transforms any party or class into a chance to expand minds with artistic-minded games and lessons. A one-hour arty birthday party package includes an engaging teacher, an art lesson, supplies, and a canvas artwork gift created by the guests for the party host or party recipient (parties start at $175 for six children, $250 for a minimum of 12 children, $10 for each additional guest). Creative classes such as the All You Need Is Love! class ($20) gives students the chance to create art inspired and accompanied by the music of The Beatles, and the Mini Masters for Mommy and Me class ($80-$90) allow moms and children to wield a brush while finding inspiration from botanical gardens and famous museum collections. Check the schedule for a full list of class times, dates and locations.
Sharpening the skills and spirits of students since 2001, the instructors at Red Dragon expound the tools, techniques, and philosophies of traditional martial arts, self-defense, and mixed martial arts, conditioning budding champions' bodies while strengthening their self-respect. Sophic senseis lead keen karatekas through challenging yet pleasure-cultivating classes that utilize group activity and camaraderie to catapult participants over new plateaus of power. Private lessons help students make the most of group sessions by providing them with intensive personalized training and tips.