Wings To Fly “Hope”

Photo Credit: Sevin Bullwinkle & The Hometown News

The world-class performances of the Wings to Fly Dance Company have become legendary with audiences enthralled by the passion, energy and sincerity of each performer as they seamlessly deliver a unique dance vocabulary rich with artistic excellence. Offering the best in thematic dance is Martin County’s best-kept secret – WTFDC! Life experiences plus cultural and spiritual influences inspire the artistic directors to create an unforgettable experience. Integrating dancers with and without disabilities, their illuminating work is noted for answering the hopes of many who dream of performing and achieving their ultimate passion.

Their new show HOPE will reveal how important faith, attitude and perseverance are in manifesting desired outcomes in one’s life or in the lives of many. What do you HOPE for? The diversity of responses to that question is the underlying fabric for this show, with music carefully crafted to thread each scene into a masterpiece of movement.

The exciting principal male dancer in HOPE is Orlando Ballet’s Arcadian Broad who at age 13 made his TV debut as a semi-finalist on season four of America’s Got Talent and soon after a guest on The Ellen Show. Broad has also trained on a full scholarship at the Juilliard School. In 2016 he debuted his first full-length production, Arcadian Broad’s Beauty and the Beast, which was the start of his career as a dual composer and choreographer. He continues to strive to “make ballet for the masses” with his work as a dancer, choreographer and composer.

Special guest singing artists for HOPE include noted singer and actress Karin Leone. A music theater veteran and Stuart native, Ms. Leone spent 8 years performing nationally, receiving numerous nominations for Best Actress in a Musical. Locally she has stared in the rock musical Next to Normal, StarStruck's production of Gypsy and was a star in Artists for a Cause’s Singing with the Stars. Like Karin, another Stuart native, Charles Douglas Jones, Jr. is well known to the local music community having sung with many musical groups. WTFDC is thrilled to showcase these two dynamic singers!

Additional guest performances include the scintillating percussion of Grammy-nominee Michael Moses, the captivating song and dance of Chris and Jeanette Mazzella, and the hip-hop expertise of Tom Ciaramitaro and Jake Schoonmaker from Aerial Elite.

Joining the WTFDC dancers will be 5 performers that rely on wheelchairs for mobility and appearing on stage for excitement!! Alex, Casey, JP, Mia and Sabrina are determined courageous performers that are a joy to experience.

The ARC of St. Lucie County and the ARC of Martin County will each feature several talented performers including Lyman Bell, Calvin Fuller, Steven Kramer, Nick Muniz, Larissa Wademan, and Babette Williams. Chris La Gratta, Bonnie Howard and Sandy Scala will also be performing! HOPE offers something for everyone – that’s what makes Wings To Fly shows such loved experiences!

Veteran WTFDC dancers Tara Anstensen, Mikayla Bradford, Kaileigh Bates, Amanda Irwin, Lisa Mie, Tena Patterson, Mary Weeks, and Ana Bolt-Turrall are joined this year by WTFDC’s newest dancers Sam Jackson, Jennifer Lopp, and Joneik Molyneaux. Guest dancers from South Florida Dance Company include Brian Spector (owner), Gavin Carr, Hannah Mae Dugmore, Caitlyn Fred, Nina Sutcliffe, Angel Tamayo and Sara Todd, and Kareem Wildman.

Under the artistic direction and choreography of Tasha Patterson Shirley, WTFDC dancers and guests have graced the stages of the Treasure Coast for many years. Their critically acclaimed shows include Quest (2010, 2011), Time (2012), Life (2013) and Journey (2016). Tasha lived in Japan and performed with Madonna, Christopher Cross, Diana Ross, and Earth Wind & Fire. Choreography work spans 27 years and includes shows like Guys and Dolls and the Rocky Horror Picture Show and she’s worked on many music videos. She created events for Budweiser, Coca Cola, Toyota, MAC Makeup, Prada, Sony, and Virgin Cinemas and did commercials for Sony, Pizza Hut, Swatch, and Suzuki. Tasha’s passion to help create a peaceful and compassionate world permeates all that she does.

Tasha’s sister Tara Anstensen is the company’s assistant director & choreographer and also dances. Tara developed a special tandem harness to enable Kaileigh to move with Mia about the stage – a very special scene in the show. Employed for over 14 years as a Physical Therapy Assistant by our presenting sponsor, the Martin Health System, she has received numerous accolades for her exemplary and extraordinary care of her patients including a feature in their 2017 Annual Report. She worked with individuals with disabilities at the Arc of St. Lucie County for over 10 years. Her professional background as a dancer includes working with Princess Cruises, performing with Diana Ross, C & C Music Factory and Cyndi Lauper. Tara has a sincere appreciation for creativity and exploration of music and movement and shares that love with all her students. She has taught at South Florida Dance Company, Dance Academy of Stuart, Ballet Florida, and Palm Beach Ballet Company.

Founding Director, Tena Patterson has an impressive background as a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer in Canada and the United States. She is trained and has taught ballet, modern, jazz, tap, Russian folk dance and musical comedy at the Royal Academy. She formed the Florida Performing and Visual Arts Program for persons with disabilities through the Arc of St. Lucie County. Tena believes that everyone should have the opportunity to perform and continues to work towards this goal. Tena also writes children's books. Tena, now over 70, still dances with Wings to Fly and often shows the dancers how it's done!

As a non-profit company, WTFDC still has a few sponsorships available for display in our program and on our website, - Please support the joy we bring, the lives we lift!