Disclaimer: This writer has worked with Preston Contemporary Dance Theatre in the past.
From local groups like the Miami City Ballet to popular touring troupes like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Florida is a hotspot for dance companies. But no dance organization may be as passionate an advocate for the arts and its community as Preston Contemporary Dance Theatre. Founded by Anna Preston, Preston Contemporary Dance Theatre (PCDT) is a professional South Florida dance company that has used dance to educate, communicate and bring together communities throughout the state and the country for more than 10 years. As said on the company’s website, “The vision for PCDT is to use dance and theatre as a means of artistic expression to enhance the cultural atmosphere of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches.”
Artistic Director Anna Preston
Preston is a Florida Atlantic University and Barry University graduate who has combined her passions of dance and public service. She has worked extensively throughout the state and with many dance icons, including Demetrius Klein, Mikhail Baryshinkov and Mia Michaels. In addition to running PCDT, Preston is also manager and director of development of Danceworks, a Stuart-based dance studio that produces two student shows a year. The studio is now the official home of PCDT.
Dance For Food
PCDT performs in several shows and performances throughout the year, but one of the main events the company participates in is Dance For Food. The event is a series of annual dance concerts throughout South Florida where dancers and audience members alike fight hunger during the holidays. Performances are in November, and Preston serves as artistic director. Instead of paying for tickets, audiences are asked to bring canned and non-perishable food as admission to the shows.
Ms. Preston comments on this commitment to the company’s community:
“All the dancers of PCDT have over 15 years of training and almost all are involved in dance education. The artists are living their lives and raising their families in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. It is natural to be invested in their community. Sometimes it is a critical need like food and sometimes it is the cultural and artistic growth of our audience…and ourselves. I have always been drawn to powerful and passionate dances and I have always found artists to be the most giving to their communities.”
Companies and student dance studios throughout Florida participate, and all performers, directors and crew volunteer their time and efforts. Every donation is given to charity food bank partners like House of Hope, Farmworker Coordinating Counsel and Mustard Seed Ministries. As of 2017, the series has collected more than 35,000 pounds of food. In the past, a single Dance for Food performance has raised more than 6,000 meals for families. Last year, the series performed at the Duncan Theatre, Blake Library, South Fork High School and Sunrise Theater Black Box.
The non-profit group Artists for a Cause (A4AC) has produced the series for nine years. And in 2018, the series expanded to St. Louis, Missouri for several performances in January, where 10 companies participated.
PCDT is a frequent partner with Artists For A Cause. The groups work together on several local dance performances that are tied to social issues like human trafficking and women’s rights. PCDT is the rare dance company that effortlessly mixes talent, beauty and enthusiasm for dance into one.
For more information or to find upcoming performances, go to PCDT’s website, https://www.pcdancetheatre.org/.