I’ve written before about Azara Ballet – a nonprofit contemporary dance company based in Sarasota, Florida. The company is known for promoting body positivity and mental health inclusivity through its outreach programs and performances and distinguishes itself by focusing on contemporary ballet, which is different from the more traditional approach of Sarasota Ballet and the non-pointe work of Sarasota Contemporary Dance.

Azara Ballet is a captivating force in the realm of dance, passionately crafting contemporary ballet masterpieces that ignite the souls of the Sarasota/Manatee community.

The company was co-founded by Kate Flowers and Martin Roosaare and aims to provide a safe space for performers who may not fit the traditional dancer mold. Azara Ballet is also committed to reaching out to various groups, including children with autism and adults with Parkinson’s, to enhance their lives through dance. Azara made its debut in late 2023 and will be performing their grand finale of the season on March 1 & 2 with “Love Between Lines” – a mesmerizing contemporary ballet show with an overarching theme of cultural freedom and liberation. This unique production features four original short works of art, each a testament to the creative prowess of Azara Ballet’s talented dancers and choreographers. Here’s a run-down of the creative, ground-breaking performances:

Love is Love | Choreography, Kate Flowers

As an LGBTQ+ identifying ballerina, Kate was inspired to bring the message of love and equality to the stage through the lens of ballet. Fueled by the lack of queer representation she had growing up in the media and in the dance world, she proudly challenges traditional ballet norms with her piece, Love is Love.

Kodumaa | Choreography, Martin Roosaare

Choreographer Martin Roosaare unveils a lesser-known narrative of his Estonian heritage in this captivating dance piece. Exploring the poignant tale of Estonia’s liberation from the Soviet Union in 1991, commonly referred to as the “singing revolution,” Roosaare weaves a mesmerizing story using the expressive language of dance, set to the evocative backdrop of Estonian music and compositions.

In the Studio | Choreography, Martin Roosaare & Kate Flowers

This piece unveils the untold stories of dancers. Beyond the masterpiece of beauty and elegance that an audience witnesses in the final product on stage, there are years of passion, hard work and often pain. This piece delves into the internal world and mental struggles of dancers by inviting you to view the perspective “In the Studio”.

Ms. Protagonist | Choreography, Olivia Huseonica

Ms Protagonist boldly examines the diverse roles assigned to women in media and society. The dancers convey a compelling message – real women are not confined by prescribed roles or the limited imaginations of those who tell their stories. This cinematic and inspiring work celebrates the profound truth that women are far beyond capable of transcending the inadequate narratives that are often ascribed to them

Here is Azara’s short video trailer for the performance: https://youtu.be/X9Sv2x2Oico

You can get more information about each piece here: https://www.azaraballet.org/performances
~ Andrea Martone

Andrea Mastrocinque-Martone is Sarasota Event Calendar’s Chief Editor. She is the former A & E Editor for Sarasota Observer Newspapers and is currently a public relations consultant. www.Insightfulpr.com