SARASOTA- One struggled with mental health and drug abuse, the other with autism, but together they create beautiful classical and contemporary works of art.

The mission of Azara Ballet is to elevate the world through dance, which is exactly what they did at Carlisle Inn in Sarasota.

The non-profit professional dance company, Azara Ballet, put on their first fundraiser.

“All of the odds were against us to get here today and to really put this performance on and to go through this fundraiser and this event. And so, I’m just so grateful that we’re actually here and able to do this today,” said Artistic Director/CEO of Azara Ballet, Kate Flowers.

Founders, Kate Flowers and Martin Roosaare, shared their stories and how the company got started with the audience.

“I’d already suffered years of eating disorders that lead to further mental health issues, and eventually rock-bottomed into severe drug abuse. I was not only unable to continue dancing beyond that point, it also took me years to fully recover,” said Flowers.

“That was when I was officially diagnosed with autism. Now, I’m finally able to understand myself in a way that I couldn’t before. Life without dance, for me, would’ve been a life where I was not able to express myself. When I can’t find the words, I can always interpret how I’m feeling through dance,” said Roosaare.

“A combination of our stories and experiences is really how Azara Ballet was born,” said Flowers.

The performances featured a variety of different themes including, emotional, celebratory, the empowerment of women and more.

Azara Ballet gives back to the community, not only through performances, but through their outreach programs.

Two of which include the Haven and Parkinson Place.

They put on 5 unique performances and over 100 people attended.