Boca Ballet’s Tyree, Guin receive NSAL’s Lifetime Achievement Award

The National Society of Arts & Letters of Florida just celebrated 40 years of supporting the hopes and aspirations of young local artists through scholarships and competitions with a glittering event at The Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. 

The NSAL’s annual Star Maker Awards brought out a galaxy of arts patrons inspired by the exceptional performances of this year’s students.

The occasion was also used to honor Boca Ballet Theatre’s Co-Artistic Directors Jane Tyree and Dan Guin with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their outstanding contributions to the dance realm and the South Florida arts community.

From left, Barbara Fisher, Judi Asselta, Dan Guin, Jane Tyree and Gerry Ehrlich at the NSAL Star Maker Awards in Boca Raton.

“We are so grateful for the community’s support for NSAL of Florida,” said Kim Champion, event chairperson. “The Star Maker Awards provide a unique opportunity for the community to meet our local and national scholarship and competition recipients – and also be mesmerized by their talent.”

During the awards ceremony, guests were treated to performances by national voice scholarship recipient Melissa Martinez, along with local music scholarship recipients, violinist Daniel Guevara, pianist Klyde Ledamo and oboist Kari Jenks. 

Violinist Daniel Guevera performs at the NSAL Star Maker Awards in Boca Raton.

Oboist Kari Jenks at the NSAL Star Maker Awards in Boca Raton.

Artwork was also on display throughout the venue by Fabien Henry Lilavois, Zaine Lodhi and Karina Alexandra Rodriguez, who are national scholarship recipients in the visual arts category. Lilavois received the highest award in both age categories at Nationals.

A video was also shown, one featuring NSAL’s award-winning dancer Gabby Garbarini, along with a “Where Are They Now” presentation featuring dancer Sophie Miklosovic, who shared some of her career highlights from the years since her 2017 NSAL win.

Event Co-chairs Shari Upbin and Marcie Gorman and Scholarship Chair Alyce Erickson, along with Honorary Chair Marilynn Wick, created an evening to entertain and inspire. 

“We are very proud of the extraordinary young talent that has come through the NSAL program,” said Gorman. “Our organization supports emerging artists in multiple disciplines including music, dance, voice, visual arts and literature.”

Dance was this year’s national competition, said Shari Upbin. So, it was fitting that Jane Tyree and Dan Guin received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Boca Ballet Theatre’s contribution to the arts in South Florida is incomparable,” said co-chair Upbin. “We were all delighted to have Dan and Jane as our honorees, and we are grateful for their tremendous support of our organization throughout the years.”

Acclaimed performers, choreographers and instructors, Guin and Tyree have built BBT into one of the top civic companies in the country, presenting professional productions with world-class guest artists. BBT’s esteemed non-profit dance school has propelled many successful students to the most prestigious stages in the world.

“We are grateful to be celebrating this historic milestone for our organization,” said Judi Asselta, NSAL president. “Through the generosity of so many, NSAL of Florida has been able to play a transformative role in the development of numerous local artists. With the sustained dedication of those who love the arts, we hope to continue our mission.” 

NSAL’s goal is to discover talented young people at the beginning of their careers and provide scholarships and competitions to advance their careers and creative opportunities

Performers discovered through these local competitions include actor/dancer/writer Shirley MacLaine; opera singer Jessye Norman; Broadway and television star Megan Hilty; pianist Awadagin Pratt; prima ballerina Amanda McKerrow and opera star Nadine Sierra, who was discovered through NSAL Florida.

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