Florida Dance Theatre is hosting its 3rd Annual Celebrate Dance Festival, April 24-26, in Lakeland. The festival includes 3 days of master dance classes in a variety of dance techniques taught by professionals from around the country, a Gala concert performance at Florida Southern’s Branscomb Auditorium, and a free performance at the Lake Mirror Promenade.

This year’s events include Master Classes in Ballet, Pointe, Modern, and Jazz dance for students ages 10 and up over the three day period. Carol Erkes, Executive Director, says, “This is a great opportunity for aspiring young dancers in Polk County to experience a bit of the professional world. Students will learn what it takes to become a professional dancer and understand the importance of proper technique to help prolong a dance career.”

The Gala Performance is Saturday, April 25th at 7:30 p.m.at Branscomb Auditorium. The company dancers will be joined by international guest artists that include Cuban born Israel Rodriguez, and Katia Garza both former principal dancers with Orlando Ballet and Ballet De Monterrey.

The company is also excited about the new works they will be premiering. One of the pieces, originally set on New York City Ballet, was choreographed by Jerry Opdenaker and the Company will premiere excerpts of Israel Rodriguez’s “La Libertad” as originally set on the National Ballet of Kosovo.

This year’s Gala performance will also have an exciting piece by choreographer and percussionist Kwame Azalius Ross. Ross was recently in Polk County working as an artist-in-residence with Polk State College. The piece will feature live music by Osubi Craig, Director of the Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center; pianist Victoria de Lissivoy, and Mr. Ross.

“We are lucky to have a gem like Florida Dance Theatre in our own back yard. I am really impressed with the caliber of artists they bring to our County and ability to still make dance accessible to everyone,” says Dr. Davis-Craig, dance teacher at local dance studio.

To purchase Gala tickets, for more information about the schedule of master classes, or the free concert call 863-802-0399.