Cultural Council awards $18,000 in grants to individual artists

By Jan Sjostrom, Palm Beach Daily News

When dancer-choreographer Demetrius Klein learned he had won the $6,000 Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts, he was shocked.

frank prize 2017.jpg

Klein didn’t have high hopes when one of his dancers nominated him for the prize. “I thought I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting it,” he said. “My work falls so far outside mainstream categories.”

To his surprise, “I think they got it,” he said of the judges.

The West Palm Beach resident, who is a dance critic for the Palm Beach Daily News, established the Demetrius Klein Dance Company, his first Palm Beach County company, in 1986 to perform postmodern work that embraced the community and contemporary themes.

His new company, DKDC/DIY Projects, formed in 2016, is even more community-based, he said. It performs work on a project-by-project basis in alternative venues, frequently tailoring the work to the site. Venues have included a bench on Clematis Street and the staircase of a West Palm Beach parking garage. Dancers can range in age from 10 to 60.

The award was among $18,000 in grants to individual artists the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County handed out last week during a luncheon at its headquarters in Lake Worth.

Dylan Evans, of Delray Beach, took home the $2,000 Frank prize for emerging performing artists. He’s a choral singer who performs with Palm Beach Opera, Delray Beach Chorale and St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach. He also teaches voice privately and serves on the Delray Beach Chorale board.

The Frank awards recognize artists who enrich the quality of the performing arts in Palm Beach County.

Debra Yates, of Lake Worth, will use her $10,000 award from the Dina Baker Fund for Mature Female Artists to help pay for converting the carport of the cottage she moved into recently into a studio. She hasn’t been able to paint for six months while the work was under way.

She’ll also spend the money on art supplies. She has in mind a series of 12-foot paintings.

The prize goes to a Palm Beach County female artist 60 or older who demonstrates artistic merit and financial need. It comes with a solo show, which will be held April 28-May 26 at the Cultural Council.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s the incentive I needed right now to get back quickly to painting.”

Two Palm Beach County Performing Artists Receive Frank Prizes at Cultural Council Member Luncheon

By Judith Czelusniak,

Today the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County revealed the two winners of the 2017 Randolph A. Frank Prizes for Performing Arts.

Dylan Evans of Delray Beach is winner of the Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Art (Emerging Performing Artist), and Demetrius Klein of West Palm Beach is winner of the Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts (Performing Artist).

The awards were conferred at a special Member Appreciation Luncheon to honor members who have supported the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County for ten years or more. The event, which took place at the Cultural Council’s main gallery on Lake Avenue, was hosted by the Board of Directors of the Council and Rena Blades, President and CEO.

About the Winners

Demetrius Klein

Demetrius Klein is a performer, choreographer, and teacher. His 501c3 non-profit arts organization, DKDC/DIY Projects, is committed to the creative process and to producing dance works of uncompromising integrity in traditional and non-traditional settings.

Since forming the Demetrius Klein Dance Company in 1986, Demetrius Klein has made a significant impact on the world of dance; performing, creating and teaching in Palm Beach County. Mr. Klein has presented over eighty works on the stages of major regional venues, nationally and internationally. He and his diverse company members continue to break new ground by actively pursuing and engaging new dance audiences by rehearsing and performing in public places.

Mr. Klein was named 1998-1999 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. He has received three choreographic fellowships from the state of Florida, the Hector Ubertalli Award for Artistic Excellence from the Palm Beach County for the Arts, and a National Endowment for the Arts Choreographic Fellowship. His work has been commissioned by Ballet Florida, the Wexner Center, Jacobs Pillow, Southeastern Center for the Contemporary Arts, The Florida-Brazil Festival, Danza Del Lobo, Minnesota Dance Alliance and most recently the Downtown Development Authority of West Palm Beach.

Dylan Evans

At just 23, baritone Dylan Evans has dedicated most of his life to the study of music and vocal performance. He sings with the Palm Beach Opera, Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches, Delray Beach Chorale (DBC), and St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, in addition to teaching private lessons to high-schoolers. Dylan recently joined the Board of Directors of DBC as the youngest member ever to serve on the board. It is his first venture into non-profit governance.

Dylan grew up in Delray Beach where he attended Bak Middle School of the Arts and A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Both schools focus on a choral curriculum, which is his principal passion. At Dreyfoos, he was inspired by former classmate, Nadine Sierra, who went on to sing with Palm Beach Opera and is now, at the age of 29, renowned internationally as one of the most promising emerging talents in the opera world today. Dylan aims to follow in her footsteps.

He received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. Upon graduation, he returned to Delray Beach and established himself with a number of local music organizations. Through his participation in larger and more established organizations, such as the New York Lyric Opera, he has acquired knowledge that he is eager to share.

About the Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts

Inaugurated in 2009 by Founding Chairman Steven Caras, the Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts recognizes and rewards individual performing artists and dedicated educators who enrich the quality of the performing arts in Palm Beach County. Categories alternate each year between Performing Artists and Performing Arts Educator. For 2017, the categories are for Performing Artist and Emerging Performing Artist.

All established and emerging individuals who regularly perform or engage in performing arts education in Palm Beach County are eligible for consideration. The recipient of the Performing Artist Award receives $6,000, and the Emerging Performing Artist winner receives $2,000.

The 2017 Randolph A. Frank Prizes for the Performing Arts are generously sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Ellis J. Parker.

3 TO SEE: Palm Beach art show; modern dance class; poetry fest

Palm Beach Post | January 12, 2017 | West Palm Beach


Dancing in the library

For those of you anxious to get started on that “getting healthy” New Year’s resolution, why not infuse a little culture into it? Tonight, you can spend an hour learning the basics of modern dance with the Demetrius Klein Dance Company at Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach. The workshop offers guests a chance to participate in a “Greek chorus” of modern dance, in addition to learning more about movement in general. This is the first workshop of the series, which continues through the spring.

Adult Modern Dance Workshop Series: On Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mandel Public Library, 411 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Information: 561-868-7701;

Dancers perform to raise awareness of opioid overdoses in South Florida

Sun Sentinel | September 1, 2016 4:05 PM | West Palm Beach

On a wet lawn near the Intracoastal Waterway on Thursday, more than 150 recovering addicts, their families and friends performed a simple dance, with outstretched arms and imaginary hugs, to symbolize their struggles.

They faced west, then south, then east and north, repeating four movements as they listened to a poem about recovery and the names of friends and relatives who had died of overdoses. In their left hands, they clutched black banners imprinted with the names of deceased drug users that flowed in the wind as they danced.

The dance, “129,” created by West Palm Beach choreographer Gaynelle Gosselin, honored the 129 people who the Centers for Disease Control says die in the United States each day of a drug overdose. The group gathered to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day and will perform again at 3 p.m. Friday at Stranahan Park in Fort Lauderdale. The public is invited to join each performance.

To Ali Lennox, 28, of Boynton Beach, the performance resembled the fluctuations of her life. She said she has been in recovery for three years but still is mourning the death of her father, who died of an overdose in 2010.

She said many of her fellow participants had no dance experience but tried to master the basic steps, such as reaching for the sky with the right hand.

“We laughed, it was a little chaotic, then we got the hang of it,” said Lennox, as tears streamed down her cheeks. “It reminded me of the process we are going through. We have good days, we have bad days. I felt closer to my father during it.”

Public health officials say heroin overdoses are devastating families and overwhelming public safety crews. Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue has responded to more than 1,400 overdoses this year, double last year’s level. In Broward, 80 people died of heroin overdoses in 2015, up from 28 in 2014, according to the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office.

Gosselin, who dances with the Demetrius Klein Dance Company in West Palm Beach, said drug abuse has touched her own family, including her son and her niece. She began to brainstorm an artistic approach after attending a meeting of Southeast Florida Recovery Advocates, which decided to stage rallies in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale on International Overdose Awareness Day.

“I thought, ‘What if we did something public that might change people’s hearts? And we went around in a parade? And we created something that said this is our message?’” she said.

She invited fellow Demetrius Klein dancers, who dressed in black, to join her informal crew, who wore sneakers, sandals, shorts and T-shirts with sayings such as “Heroin Sucks.” They met at Memorial Presbyterian Church and walked 15 minutes to Waterfront Park, at the end of Clematis Street with a view of the Intracoastal.

Lori Brasso, of Loxahatchee, carried a portrait of her son, Tony, 29, a father of two who died of an overdose last year.

“He was funny, a great singer and a great cook,” Brasso said. “I hope everybody realizes this epidemic is spreading like wildfire.”

Copyright © 2016, Sun Sentinel

Demetrius Klein Dance Company presents ‘Elbow’

Palm Beach Post | 9:34 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 | Filed in: Central PBC

Demetrius Klein Dance Company presents ‘Elbow’ photo

Demetrius Klein is back on the local dance scene after five years in his native Ohio and it’s almost like he never left.

He’s still putting on modern, original performances in unexpected spaces and creating works that nobody else but the acclaimed, award-winning choreographer would dream of.

Demetrius Klein performs works to the music of Elbow. Sarah Hollywood performs in Demetrius Klein’s new work. (Brian Padgett/Contributed)

This weekend, on Friday and Saturday night, he’s presenting his new work “Elbow” with his nine-member dance troupe at the Memorial Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach. It’s called “Elbow” because the choreography is set to the music of the English alt-rock band’s 2011 album, “Build A Rocket, Boys!”

“I’ve been listening to Elbow’s album since its release several years ago,” Klein explains in a press release. “I’d already created two works to two of the songs and I thought, wouldn’t it be great to complete the other eight songs? The album functions like a score, not thematically, but the music has an arc to it … a sense of completeness.”

Klein, who began performing here in the 1980s and labels his work “hardcore modern dance,” says the new work is about partnering that is “not romantic in nature. It’s more about help, trust, and support.”

If you’ve seen Klein’s previous works — which have drawn him fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts as well as MacArthur Foundation grants — then you know that he tells more with movement, music and imagery than he often does with words.

Adding to the imagery in “Elbow” will be prints by Japanese folk artist Sadao Watanabe, which are on display through December in the church’s so-called Great Big Room, where Klein’s performance will be presented.


“Elbow” by the Demetrius Klein Dance Company

When: 8 p.m., Dec. 4 and Dec. 5

Where: Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1300 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach

Tickets: $20 ($10 for students with ID and seniors).

Information: 561-758-8726, or