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.