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Boca Ballet Theatre leading push for new performing arts center

Boca Ballet Theatre hopes to put a new performing arts center on 21 acres next to the Spanish River Library.

Andrea Virgin, ballet alumna, and adviser made the announcement at the ballet guild’s 27th Princely Affair fundraiser Sunday.  They’re exploring a ground lease with the city. They want to partner with a developer, hospitality company and retailer, she said.

Seven arts groups involved will launch a $100 million capital campaign for construction and naming opportunities, said Virgin, principal of her firm Virgin Design.  Some $500,000 has already been donated in in-kind services, executive director and co-artistic director Dan Guin said. Now they’re looking for funds for the studies the city requires, he added.

After an elaborate silent auction, ballerinas gave the audience of 350 a preview of “Marleen Forkas presents The Nutcracker.” Forkas’ late husband Harold gave Guin the money for their own production. This is her 20th year as a presenter.

Ballet
Marleen Forkas benefactor of Boca Ballet Theatre with ballerinas from the company.

The company has a school and rehearsal space but has to perform in area high schools. These four performances Nov. 23 to 25 are at Olympic Heights High School.  The timing seems right for a new performing arts center in town, said Guin, whose wife Jane Tyree is the co-artistic director.

The other arts groups involved are The Harid Conservatory; Sol Theater Troupe; The Symphonia; Youth Orchestra of Palm Beach County. Also Boca Raton Theater Group and the theater and dance programs at Florida Atlantic University.

Guin announced a challenge grant for the company’s BBT4PD: Dance for those Living with Parkinson’s disease program. He raised  $10,000 in minutes from four Boca philanthropists in the audience. Retired Rabbi Merle Singer, who takes those classes, was at the luncheon.

Mother and daughter Susan and Arielle Beery chaired the event at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. “I danced in 13 Nutcrackers,” said Arielle, an alumna who now works for Modernizing Medicine.

“Boca Ballet teaches the value of the arts, hard work and teamwork,” said Arlene Herson, honorary chairwoman for the third year. “Students can dance with world-class dancers.”
Arlene Herson with dancers from the Boca Ballet Theatre school.

New York City and Pennsylvania Ballet dancers performed.

Cindy Surman was mistress of ceremony. Carrie Gibbons, guild president, was among the raffle fundraisers. The grand prize was a cruise on the Norwegian Sky from Expedia CruiseshipCenters in Boca Raton. Among the auction items was a giant bear in a tutu and vacations provided by silent auction sponsor Bluegreen Vacations.

By Marci Shatzman

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