In a flurry of events, the Florida East Coast Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters wrapped up their weeklong NSAL National Meeting and EN POINTE: Classical Ballet Competition by honoring 17 classical ballet dancers, awarding their annual Chapter scholarships and announcing the winners of the National Classical Ballet Competition at their Red Rose National Awards Gala held at the Royal Palm Yacht Club Saturday, June 3.
“For the chapter, hosting the 73rd Annual Meeting was a chance to shine a spotlight on the Florida Chapter and the work we do all year to promote and support interest in the creative arts and our young talent,” said Alyce Erickson, president emeritus of the Florida East Coast Chapter of NSAL.
The event, two years in the making, is designed to showcase Palm Beach County, South Florida and the area’s cultural history, said Erickson. In all, more than 230 people took part in the national meeting as well as the Red Rose National Awards Gala.
“One of the most special things about hosting the national event was the Classical Ballet Competition,” said Erickson. “The caliber of the competition and the judges was unheard of for an NSAL chapter.”
Erickson said that one of the most unexpected surprises was the demonstrable involvement of the judges who went out of their way to offer support and open doors for the young ballet dancers.
“The judges were so down-to-earth and spent the evening at the gala talking with each of the young ballet dancers, and offering to help their careers in any way they could,” said Erikson. “For the young ballet dancers, most had never been to a gala and several of the girls said they felt like Cinderella, and it made them feel important.”
Guests were treated to a video presentation that showcased competitors from the EN POINTE: Classical Ballet Competition before the pièce de résistance – the announcement of the winners.
And the winners were…
Gillian Fitz, 19, representing the Greater New York Area Chapter took first place and $12,000. Sophie Miklosovic, the Florida East Coast Chapter’s local Classical Ballet Competition winner, won third place and received $6,000. The top five dancers, representing NSAL chapters around the country were awarded more than $30,000 to help further their dance careers.
Wheeldon was also honored with the 2017 NSAL Gold Medal of Merit Award mainly for his unique approach to the 2015 Broadway debut of An American in Paris, now on national tour.
Winners of the Florida East Coast Chapter’s 2017 High School Photography Program competition were also recognized and their photos were on display during the gala.
Gala Co-Chairman Brian Edwards received the Florida East Coast Chapter’s Distinguished Service Award for his commitment to fundraising and sharing his expertise in the nonprofit field.
The entertainment packed evening included a performance by NSAL Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Voice Scholarship Recipient and Mezzo-Soprano Zaray Rodriguez, who is studying at the Opera Institute of Boston University who performed Una voce poco fa from Rossini’s Barber of Seville with Collaborative Accompanist Lisa Leonard, associate professor, Lynn University Conservatory of Music.
Guests also enjoyed young artists from the Lynn University Conservatory of Music and scholarship winners from both Lynn University and Florida Atlantic University.
The evening ended in, what else? – A dance party, as guests took to the dance floor and had fun with South Florida dance band, Street Talk.
“Two words come to mind that can pretty much sum up the week – passion and support,” said Erickson.
The National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) Florida East Coast Chapter is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that aims to discover, mentor and provide financial support for talented young artists. They are committed to raising funds and awareness for their efforts to get the public interested in the creative arts. They aspire to help talented artists at the beginning of their careers to pursue their creative dreams in the areas of Art, Dance, Drama, Literature, Music and Musical Theatre.
For more information visit, the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) Florida East Coast Chapter or call, (561)391-6380.