NFB celebrates 50th anniversary

Special to GateHouse Media Florida

The Northwest Florida Ballet (NFB) announces its 50th anniversary with four productions that also include a schedule of alumni events and a commemorative spring gala to celebrate this milestone season.

NFB's golden anniversary begins Oct. 12 with a mixed repertory performance, Beer & Ballet, at Grayton Beer Company. The limited-seating event allows patrons to experience a mix of contemporary, neoclassical and classical pieces from guest choreographers and the NFB repertoire in a more casual atmosphere. Guests will sample Grayton Beer Company's extensive beer collection along with heavy hors d'oeuvres. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.

The 40th annual production of "The Nutcracker" at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center will be Nov. 22-24 along with a VIP & NFB Academie Alumni party Nov. 22.  NFB's "The Nutcracker" is the only full-length version of the production in the area and features a cast of more than 140 performers including international guest artists and more than 100 local children. The NFB Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director and Conductor David Ott, will provide musical accompaniment for all public performances.

In the spring, NFB presents the classic fairytale "Cinderella" Feb. 28 and March 1 with live music by the NFB Symphony Orchestra. The commemorative 50th-anniversary gala will take place  Feb. 28.

"The golden anniversary milestone allows us to formalize an official NFB alumni group comprised of former company members, graduates of the NFB Academie and Pre-Professional Program as well as those who performed in our season productions over the years," said NFB Artistic Director and CEO Todd Eric Allen. "We look forward to welcoming them back home."

The season concludes with "Ballet at Twilight," the annual free community performance featuring a mixed repertoire of classic and modern works in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin's Grand Park Jun. 20. The outdoor production features new and established works performed by NFB dancers and international guest artists.

"This season is incredibly special as it marks a significant milestone in NFB's history," Allen said. "It's a rare achievement for arts organizations in our area, and we are thankful to be part of a community that celebrates the performing arts. This truly is a labor of love and the result of a dedicated group of patrons, donors, dancers, parents, civic leaders and staff members who genuinely care about NFB's success."

Season subscriptions will be available at www.NFBallet.org and NFB's Facebook page will have announcements related to ticket sales and additional details on registering as an alumnus.