History of Gulfshore Ballet

History of Gulfshore Ballet

Gulfshore Ballet, Southwest Florida’s premier not-for-profit school of classical ballet, is a 501(c) (3) Florida not for profit corporation. The school was organized in 2000 under the leadership of Melinda Roy. In January of 2012, a new Board and officers was formed, led by Denise Devito, Chairman and President to the Board. The new board’s first task was to implement a plan to successfully continue the mission originally created by Ms. Roy in 2000.

In 2012, Lisa Tafel was named Executive Director, and along with Denise Devito, was successful in reorganizing the school. In a short 3 year period, an office manager was hired, enrollment has stabilized, and Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero, a husband and wife team and former Principal Dancers with the Miami City Ballet, were appointed Artistic Directors of Gulfshore Ballet. 

In the 2015-2016 Season Gulfshore Ballet has successfully increased its enrollment to 100 students. Class levels have increased to include Beginner Ballet & Pre-Ballet  in the primary division, Levels 1-2-3 in the elementary division, Levels 3-4-5 in the intermediate division, and Levels 6-7-8 and Pre-Professional in the advanced divisions. Expanded programs also include the Gulfshore Ballet Ensemble I and II. In addition Gulfshore Ballet has expanded its adult program to beginner and intermediate classes, including pointe for adult participants. The school offers a full scholarship program for male students and need-based scholarships for female students. For the upcoming 2016-17 season, Gulfshore Ballet will expand its curriculum to include the Vaganova Floor Barre, Gyro Kinesis, and a youth boy’s class. 

While Gulfshore Ballet relies on student tuition, enrollment and performance fees, corporate sponsorships, private donors and grant funds, our programs are made possible by the generosity and diversity of our dedicated volunteers. While the school employs one full-time office manager and contracts a highly qualified and diversified team of instructors, the President, Executive Director/Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Board, Accountant and Attorney all serve as volunteers and without compensation. Without the guidance and direction of these dedicated professionals, our school would not exist today.

Each of us at Gulfshore Ballet is dedicated to carrying on the mission originally created in 2000, to raise an awareness and appreciation of classical ballet in Lee County, FL.