Randolph A. Frank Prize To Be Awarded To Ballet Palm Beach Founder Colleen Smith

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Palm Beach Symphony has announced that Ballet Palm Beach Founder and Artistic Director Colleen Smith has been awarded the 2020 Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts and will receive the entire prize amount of $10,000. The award ceremony will stream live to the public beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 25 at https://www.palmbeachsymphony.org/frank-prize.

"In addition to being a brilliant choreographer, Colleen has taught more than 5,000 Palm Beach County students and awarded in excess of $200,000 in scholarships to deserving dancers since creating the Ballet Palm Beach Academy in 1993," said Palm Beach Symphony CEO David McClymont. "The joy she brings to audiences at Ballet Palm Beach performances and the superior dance instruction and nurturing encouragement she offers her pupils makes her extremely deserving of this honor. Due to current conditions, we will be hosting the ceremony on the internet and the many people Colleen has touched in her life will be able to take part in the celebration."

Bestowed in the memory of Dr. Frank, a local arts champion in the early part of this century, the prize was established 11 years ago by Randolph A. Frank Prize Board Members Nancy and Jay Parker and founding chairman and acclaimed dance photographer Steven Caras. The award recognizes contributions to the enhancement of the cultural and artistic life of Palm Beach County by performing artists, arts educators and emerging artists.

Smith has danced with Ballet Met in Columbus, Ohio, New Dance Ensemble in Cleveland and Tulsa Ballet Theatre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before establishing Ballet Palm Beach, she taught for the Kansas City Ballet School in Kansas City, Missouri; served as Ballet Mistress for New Dance Ensemble in Cleveland, Ohio; began the dance department of Trinity Methodist Fine Arts School in Palm Beach Gardens; and taught at numerous schools in South Florida.

In addition to the stunning production of The Nutcracker, which Smith choreographed and which features nearly 70 students on the stage of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Academy initiatives include Ballet by the Book in which she annually creates a work based on a book chosen by the public library system. The dance is presented throughout the community at libraries, schools and theaters and includes post-performance talks with the young audiences.

Smith has deepened her students' performance skills and understanding of their roles as artists through the Ballet Ambassadors program in which she leads overseas dance missions. During the past 11 years, the program has travelled to Russia, Croatia, France, Bosnia, Hungary and Cuba with performances presented in prisons, churches and synagogues free of charge.

Many of Smith's students have pursued their dance education at colleges and universities and some are now professional dancers. Others have an appreciation for art and support dance in their own communities.

Elizabeth Faber, a senior majoring in dance at New York City's Juilliard School, praised Smith writing, "Without Miss Colleen's presence in my life, I would not nearly be the confident, determined and hard working person that I am today. Not only has Miss Colleen's technique served me throughout my dance career, but she has shown me how to share my art and stand behind what I believe into the world."

The general public is invited to the live award ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 25 at https://www.palmbeachsymphony.org/frank-prize. There is no charge and no advance registration is required.


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