Features Dance2

Published on April 4th, 2013 | by Rebecca Padgett

Lakeland dances its way into theatre

Rebecca Padgett
Opinions Editor

A young woman is crossing the satin laces of her Pointe shoes, a cluster of dancers stretch at the bar and the light sound of classical music plays as Carol Erkes, the executive artistic director of Florida Dance Theatre, walks in to begin class.

Next year, Florida Dance Theatre will celebrate 20 years of engaging dance classes, exciting performances and a constant presence in Lakeland.

Erkes founded Florida Dance Theatre and is accompanied by Ferdinand De Jesus, the associate artistic director and resident choreographer.

Erkes has spent the past 20 years running the company, doing the PR, writing grants, teaching and choreographing. A constant fixture in her 20 years of running the company has been the Summer intensive program.

This program is geared towards intermediate and advanced dancers who take classes such as ballet, Pointe, modern, partnering and jazz. The program features esteemed guest teachers and choreographers from all over the country.

The Summer Intensive lasts for three weeks from June 10-29.

“Summer Intensive fully focuses on technique, making stronger dancers and to challenge dancers more artistically,” De Jesus said. “A summer program is really meant to challenge them and push them.”

This year, Florida Southern College will be offering housing for dancers in the Summer Intensive program who are 14 years and older.

FSC will also aid in providing meal plans for dancers who are interested.

At the end of the program, the final show will take place in Branscomb Auditorium.

Erkes spoke about the experience that the Summer Intensive could offer students.

“Giving them exposure, not only to the whole city of Lakeland, but having them on campus, especially if a year from now there is a dance department,” Erkes said. “These are a lot of juniors and seniors in high school, so they are going to be looking around for programs. Any affiliation with us at FSC, if they are happy with what they get here, may make them think twice about possibly going as a dance minor or major at the college. That’s what we are hoping for and what we are working towards.”

Erkes and De Jesus are also working with FSC, in particular the Musical Theatre Department, in order to initiate a Dance major on campus.

Florida Dance Theatre offers a wide variety of dance classes throughout the year for those from four years old to adulthood.

They offer classes in ballet, Pointe, jazz, modern, hip-hop and partnering. Classes are available to anyone whether you have no prior experience or have been dancing for years.

Adult dance classes are a new feature offered to those who have never danced before, or those who have danced before, but want to get back into it.

The goal is “creating an environment for adults, like FSC students, to be able to come and take classes” in the words of De Jesus.

If you have two left feet, but would still like to be involved, Florida Dance Theatre has two upcoming performances before the end of the semester.

At the downtown, First Friday celebration, the company will perform a sneak peak from their upcoming showcase Innovations Dance.

Innovations Dance will take place at the Polk Theatre on April 20 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

For more information on Florida Dance Theatre, visit their website at

The Summer Intensive lasts for three weeks from June 10-29.

“Summer Intensive fully focuses on technique, making stronger dancers and to challenge dancers more artistically,” De Jesus said. “A summer program is really meant to challenge them and push them.”

This year, Florida Southern College will be offering housing for dancers in the Summer Intensive program who are 14 years and older.

FSC will also aid in providing meal plans for dancers who are interested.

At the end of the program, the final show will take place in Branscomb Auditorium.

Erkes spoke about the experience that the Summer Intensive could offer students.

“Giving them exposure, not only to the whole city of Lakeland, but having them on campus, especially if a year from now there is a dance department,” Erkes said. “These are a lot of juniors and seniors in high school, so they are going to be looking around for programs. Any affiliation with us at FSC, if they are happy with what they get here, may make them think twice about possibly going as a dance minor or major at the college. That’s what we are hoping for and what we are working towards.”

Erkes and De Jesus are also working with FSC, in particular the Musical Theatre Department, in order to initiate a Dance major on campus.

Florida Dance Theatre offers a wide variety of dance classes throughout the year for those from four years old to adulthood.

They offer classes in ballet, Pointe, jazz, modern, hip-hop and partnering. Classes are available to anyone whether you have no prior experience or have been dancing for years.

Adult dance classes are a new feature offered to those who have never danced before, or those who have danced before, but want to get back into it.

The goal is “creating an environment for adults, like FSC students, to be able to come and take classes” in the words of De Jesus.

If you have two left feet, but would still like to be involved, Florida Dance Theatre has two upcoming performances before the end of the semester.

At the downtown, First Friday celebration, the company will perform a sneak peak from their upcoming showcase Innovations Dance.

Innovations Dance will take place at the Polk Theatre on April 20 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

For more information on Florida Dance Theatre, visit their website at  www.floridadancetheatre.org.

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

is a double major in Communications Print Journalism and English Creative Writing. As a junior, Rebecca has worked on The Southern for two years now. She is Opinions Editor. Rebecca likes reading, writing, traveling, dancing, thrift shops, and a good chocolate croissant.



Back to Top ↑