Seaside Dance Festival May 5-7

May 1, 2017 by SoWal Staff

Seaside Dance Festival weekend May 5-7, 2017 draws professional dancers and guest artists from around the globe to the Seaside Amphitheater for a weekend celebration of exceptional dance artistry.

Featuring professional performances, demonstrations and open discussion under the stars, this year’s Seaside Dance Festival continues the tradition of hosting world-class talent in Seaside to showcase the latest dance trends as well as the beloved classics. Guest artist and director Davis Robertson returns to curate Seaside Dance Festival this year with new and returning talent who will demonstrate and perform famous choreographed works on the Amphitheater stage. Robertson is the International Program Director of Bolshoi Ballet Academy of Moscow and répétiteur for the Robert Joffrey & Gerald Arpino Foundation.

Featuring members from national dance companies, the Seaside Dance Festival offers a variety of dance style performances by professionals which include ballet, contemporary, tap, hip hop, jazz, modern, neo-classical and more. “This unusual and unique gathering is special every year,” said Robertson.

“There is almost nowhere else in the country, other than New York City, where you can attend a show that includes top-notch dance companies that perform a plethora of different types of dance numbers all in one program. It’s basically a dance platter full of professionalism and variety brought directly to the people of Seaside, Fla.,” he said. “The only other place I can think of where this happens is at New York City’s “Fall for Dance Festival.” But, here in Seaside, you can come for no fee to enjoy the diversity, the quality and the level of dance professionalism.”

Seaside Dance Festival offers three exciting, variety-packed dance-themed evenings for the serious dance aficionado and those who simply enjoy the performing arts. Seleta Hayes Howard, Seaside Nutcracker Ballet Mistress and Special Projects Director, says the dance weekend has been designed to engage the community in all forms of dance. “This performance is much like a show you would see in one of New York’s finest venues – but in the magical setting under the stars in Seaside. The Dance Festival is a wonderful way to ignite a passion for dance in our community and connect through the beautiful art form of dance,” she said. “After a magnificent performance last year, we’re excited to see another incredible show that appeals to all tastes in dance,” said Howard. 

This year Seaside Dance Festival will feature guest artists from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Repertory Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet, Patrick O’Brien Company, Richmond Ballet, Seán Curran Company, Subtle Changes New York and more. In addition, Joffrey Ballet Concert Group alumni, who have mesmerized audiences the past two years with their performances in Seaside, will return to perform “Light Rain” choreographed by Joffrey Ballet Company’s co-founder Gerald Arpino.

On Friday, May 5 at 6 p.m., audience members can join the conversation during a lecture performance and demonstration all about dance, from modern and jazz to classical ballet. World-class, professional dance artists will demonstrate and be available to answer questions during a warm-up expo and open discussion in the Seaside Amphitheater.

“This is an opportunity for curious dancers, members of the community and visitors to get to know more about the arts, and for a young audience to get to know the “stars”—the artists themselves,” said Robertson, who travels the world and teaches in countries such as Russia and Italy. “Audience participants will be exposed to different forms and different types of dance for an incredible, unique opportunity to get to know the dance stars as well as receive a wonderful introduction to the dance world.”

On Saturday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m., Seaside is honored once again to offer a one and a half hour, energy-packed performance showcase, popping with dance variety and delighting all ages from 1-100. This magnificent night under the stars is tailor-made for serious dance aficionados or those who simply enjoy performing arts entertainment. Robertson brings back guest artists and professional dancers from all around the world who converge in Seaside for an action-packed performance of the latest dance genres and beloved classics. Exceptional artistry will feature choreographed works in ballet, contemporary, tap, hip hop, jazz, modern, neo-classical and more.

Highlights of the show will include Robertson and a guest artist who will perform a duet to an original piece, “Setting Sun,” tapper Jason Bernard of the New York City Ballet, a return performance by Daniel White of the Richmond Ballet, former Joffrey Ballet Concert Group dancer and assistant director of M.A.D.D. Rhythms in Chicago Jumaane Taylor, Natia and Clifford Williams from Complexions Contemporary Dance, Chrystyn Fentroy and Jorge Velez of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra from Miami City Ballet.

Sunday, May 7 at 7:45 p.m., the Seaside Dance Festival culminates in a Roger Jeffrey short film and documentary which will precede a full-length family, dance-themed movie screening, Singin’ in the Rain. Guests can bring lawn chairs, blankets and dinner or snacks to enjoy another relaxing evening under the stars.

This signature dance festival weekend is the result of perpetual success and overflowing audiences for past Seaside Dance Festival performances, and is the brainchild of Seaside co-founder and patron of the arts, Daryl Davis. It has now become an annual event, a new Seaside tradition. Davis was inspired originally to bring dance performers to Seaside to help cultivate more dance appreciation in South Walton communities as well as involve the local community.

All Seaside Dance Festival activities take place in the Seaside Amphitheater. The weekend is produced by the Merchants of Seaside and there is no admission to attend the performances. Guests can book accommodations by visiting

Friday, May 5:  6 PM – Lecture & Demonstration

Saturday, May 6: 6:30 PM – Performance Showcase

Sunday, May 7: 7:45 PM – Dance Movie Night


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