As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Northwest Florida Ballet was established in 1969 by dance pioneer Bernadette Clements Sims and is highly regarded for providing world-class ballet performances and training students in the art of dance. From the 13,000 sq. ft. Sybil Smith Lebhertz Center for Dance Education facility and our 3,500 sq. ft. Studio Annex, NFB serves as a cornerstone for downtown Fort Walton Beach.
Since 2001, NFB has also operated the NFB Académie through a public-private partnership with the Okaloosa County School District for 3rd through 8th grades. In 2012, the Pre-Professional Program was launched to serve high school students, bridging the gap between the student and professional world of dance.
The company has performed with such well-established companies as the Atlanta Ballet, the Miami Ballet and the Washington Ballet. NFB has also produced many outstanding professional dancers and teachers who perform throughout the US and Europe. In 1995, Todd Eric Allen, former NFB student and native of Northwest Florida, returned to the area to accept the position of Artistic Director of the company after a distinguished career with Louisville Ballet, Boston Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
Mission & Vision
About the Company
The Northwest Florida Ballet’s mission is to provide premier professional performances, provide an enhanced arts curriculum within the framework of a public school education, identify and develop dancers through exceptional training, and increase community engagement via outreach.
The Northwest Florida Ballet strives to provide a premier arts education and classical ballet experience that enriches the lives of the Northwest Florida community.
Northwest Florida Ballet is committed to increasing equality, access, and opportunity in the art of dance. Bringing people together from diverse backgrounds, histories, and life experiences makes our artform stronger, richer, and more innovative resulting in vibrant experiences for all.
Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
NFB is located near a key site of the Fort Walton culture (1200-1500), associated with the widespread Mississippian Tradition of the Southeast. The Mississippians constructed large ‘temple’ mounds in central communities across the Southeastern states on the Gulf Coast, serving populations scattered along rivers and bays. The Temple Mound Museum in Fort Walton is one such center.
During the historical period, the descendant Mississippian people are represented by confederations of tribes speaking various Muskogean languages. The precise group connections among the Muskogean inhabitants of the region are difficult to state with certainty. However, the early historic Fort Walton people appear generally to have been connected to Western Muskogean speakers. These people ultimately became affiliated with the Choctaw Confederacy in Alabama and Mississippi after moving west under pressure from the Creek Confederacy of Eastern Muskogeans in the 18th century. The Creek population was itself fleeing encroachment by Europeans in Georgia. After the forced removal of the Creek people to Oklahoma after 1829, a few isolated Creek families remained in the region. These families remained unaffiliated with a tribal group until the late 20th century.
In 1974, the State of Florida created the Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council, now known as the Muscogee Nation of Florida, though the group did not receive federal recognition as a tribe. However, some of the Florida families are on the tribal rolls of the Poarch Band of Eastern Creeks, located near Atmore, Alabama.
- Mississippian Culture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippian_culture
- Muscogee Nation of Florida: http://www.mnoffl.com/history5.html
- Muskogee: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscogee
- Poarch Creek Indians: https://pci-nsn.gov/wordpress/