Lace up your slippers or running shoes and walk, run or pirouette your way to fitness at The Northwest Florida Ballet's third annual Resolution Run Jan. 19 in Fort Walton Beach.



"Please join us," said NFB Artistic Director and CEO Todd Allen, of the run planned to help people start their New Year right, get in shape and have fun.



No matter your age or level of fitness, there are many options for participation. As a bonus, the registration fees help fortify local educational and artistic efforts.



"This 10K, 5K run-walk will be held at the Fort Walton Beach Landing with all proceeds going to NFB and NFB Académie," said Allen. "We are always excited to incorporate our fundraising efforts with a fitness event. As dancers our bodies are our instrument and we must keep them in excellent condition."



One-third of the Académie students are considered financially at-risk, and events like the Resolution Run lend a much needed financial boost to already strained budgets which support the school's efforts to instruct its students in French, dance, music and art.



The nationally acclaimed public school has 140 third through eighth grade students, who are taught traditional subjects in addition to fine-arts curriculum to offer blossoming ballet dancers the opportunity to meet their artistic potential. The No. 3 ranked Florida school also recently expanded its offerings with a pre-professional program, which allows students to continue their studies at the Académie through high school.



The students come from throughout Northwest Florida, with many attending the Fort Walton school from South Walton. In addition to the support from students and parents, President of the Northwest Florida Ballet Board of Directors Kevin Greene says the support from the South Walton community as a whole has been staggering.



“It has been so rewarding to see the growth, interest, participation and support from residents, visitors and business sponsors here in south Walton County. In addition to enjoying performances this year at Mattie Kelly Arts Center, and free outdoor performances at WaterColor and Rosemary Beach, they are playing a role in the development and education of children, as well as building up our community’s cultural offerings," said Greene.



True to form, South Walton businesses have also come up to the barre as sponsors for the late-January run-walk, including WaterColor, Waste Management, Denise Greene, Realtor with Sandestin Real Estate, and Camp Creek. Other sponsors inlcude Downtown Fort Walton Arts & Entertainment District, On the Coast Magazine, and Gold’s Gym.



This year's New Year's Resolution Run will begin at 9 a.m. at the Fort Walton Beach Landing. Cost for adults to register for the 10K is $30, the 5K is $25, and for children younger than 12, registration is $15.



The run will be followed by an award ceremony with refreshments, prizes for overall race winners and winners in each age category.



Register online at www.NFBrun.com; www.active.com, or pick up registration at Northwest Florida Ballet's office at 310 Perry Avenue SEin Fort Walton Beach. Participants can also register from 8 to 8:45 a.m. at the race site Jan. 19. Commemorative T-shirts will be an additional $5 fee.



The Northwest Florida Ballet, Okaloosa and Walton counties' oldest nonprofit organization, is in its 43rd year delighting the community with performances that incorporate burgeoning young talent as well as renowned ballet professionals. The 10-year-old Académie offers hopeful ballet dancers the opportunity to grow and learn in their craft. Allen says events like the Resolution Run help to bolster "the talent and dedication of our young students and professional dancers.”