Thursday, March 26, 2015

Free audition prep workshops in April

Do your kids want to perform in our Patel Conservatory summer theater shows like Aladdin Jr. and Shrek the Musical?

The Conservatory will hold auditions for these shows in May and all experience levels are welcome.

Whether you're a beginning or experienced actor, auditions can be intimidating. But if you’re prepared, it’s a lot easier and can be a lot of fun. Every audition offers a chance to perform, learn, gain experience and connect with other actors.

For young actors who'd like to sharpen their audition skills, we're offering two free audition prep workshops to help students in grades two through college learn how to prepare for an audition and what to expect.

In the Conservatory’s audition workshops, actors will learn how to prepare, build and execute a professional theatrical audition from the ground up. Participants will work through the audition process, requirements and expectations, and discover how to exit the audition with their head held high.

Topics will include selecting material, memorization, creating resumes, slating, headshots and much more. Students will participate in lecture as well as coaching to gain knowledge and understanding of how to be successful and confident in auditions.

The workshops include a separate seminar for parents to learn how to support and aid their student through the process.

Grades 2 to 6
Sat., April 25, 2015
12 to 2 p.m.
Parent workshop from 1 to 2 p.m.
 This workshop is geared towards students interested in auditioning for Aladdin Jr.
Grade 7 to College
Wed., April 22, 2015
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Parent workshop from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
 This workshop is geared towards students interested in auditioning for Shrek, Romeo & Juliet and Showstoppers.

The workshops are free, but RSVP is required. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Audrey at

On the Edge kicks it up a notch

Dance fans, prepare to be wowed at the Patel Conservatory’s production of On the Edge. This year, the popular contemporary dance performance kicks it up a notch with live music accompaniment by percussionist Jim Rungo. 

From a spectacular kick line to breath-taking contemporary pieces, On the Edge features our Conservatory dancers as they demonstrate their emotional and technical versatility through a variety of solo and ensemble pieces in contemporary, jazz, tap and hip hop.

“I wanted to add to the intensity level of the show, so I turned to longtime friend and amazing drummer Jim Rungo,” said Kelly King, Patel Conservatory’s Lead Contemporary Teacher and the show’s director.

Originally from France, Rungo has more than 35 years of professional experience in various music styles from jazz to classical to R&B. He has performed locally and toured nationally and internationally, and is currently accompanying for First Date, now playing in the Jaeb Theater at the Straz Center.

Rungo and King have previously collaborated for many years, including for the Broadway Theatre Project at the University of South Florida, for which King was resident choregrapher.

“Jim’s talents and musical direction have added an exciting element to the show. And the dancers have gained the benefit of working with a live musician,” said King.

“It’s a great experience for the dancers, who have to pay close attention to music cues and timing.”

The show will also feature solos from Gabrielle Vogel, Christopher Kunzelmann and Levi Durie, who will show off their pieces that they’ll perform at the Youth America Grand Prix finals in New York City, also in April.

Don’t miss your chance to see stunning performances from the award winning dancers of the Patel Conservatory Show Team and Next Generation Ballet, as well as Patel Conservatory’s Popular Dance and Youth Ballet programs.

On the Edge will be April 18, 2015 at 7 p.m. in Ferguson Hall. For tickets or more information, click here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Auditions for Summer 2015 Music Programs

The Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory is hosting auditions for its summer music programs.

For students in school ensembles, summer intensives can sharpen their techniques and performance skills so they’ll be ready for the new school year.

The Conservatory's summer music programs include our Chamber Music Intensive and Vocal Intensive, featuring broadened curriculum, master classes with professional musicians and an honors recital. We’ve also added new jazz and drumline intensives.

For a complete list of summer music camps and classes, click here.

Music auditions for summer programs will be:

Vocal Arts Voice Intensive (Jun. 8 -19) and Patel-A-Cappella (Jun. 10 - Aug. 15)
Sat., Mar. 21 from 9 to 11 a.m.
Sat., May 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Students should prepare a short song or excerpt (16 measures or about 30 seconds) to sing, preferably with sheet music. An accompanist will be provided.
To schedule an audition, email Kavan Gillespie at

Chamber Music Intensive (Jun. 8 - 19)
Sat., Mar. 21 from 9 to 11 a.m.
Sat., May 9 to 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Students should prepare 2 short contrasting pieces and scales. There will also be a short sight-reading element.
To schedule an audition, email

Jazz Intensive (July 27 - 31)
Tues., May 19 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Sat., May 23 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Students should prepare one short piece that best represents them and there may be an improvisation or sight-reading
To schedule an audition, email

Rock Star Retreat and Rock School
ues., May 19 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Sat., May 23 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Students should prepare a piece that showcases their ability and aptitude on their instrument.

To schedule an audition, email

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Former NYC Ballet principal Philip Neal to direct NGB 2015 summer intensive

The Patel Conservatory and Next Generation Ballet (NGB) is proud to announce that acclaimed choreographer and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Philip Neal has been engaged as the interim artistic director of NGB’s 2015 Summer Intensive.

Neal gives corrections at an NGB master class.
Having been a guest instructor for NGB’s summer intensive in previous years, Neal is excited to return to Tampa this summer.

“I’m really honored and thrilled. I love to be in the studio working with students” said Neal.

After a 23-year tenure with New York City Ballet, 17 years as a principal dancer, Neal currently is a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust and the Jerome Robbins Rights Trust, staging the ballets of both legendary choreographers throughout the world.

He began his dance career with the New York City Ballet in the same year as current NGB artistic director Peter Stark, and the two have remained friends throughout the years.

“I work with companies all over the world," said Neal. "I saw NGB’s Nutcracker in December, and what Peter has built with NGB is amazing. So it’s very important to me that I protect the top level of training expected. I want to be sure students receive training that will continue to serve them on a global scale, preparing them for a myriad of companies.”

Neal has created work for the Richmond Ballet, and has been invited to participate in the New York Choreographic Institute. He has been on the permanent faculty of the School of American Ballet, and continues to teach there as a guest instructor. He has been a guest instructor for numerous dance companies and schools, including Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Joffrey Ballet.

NGB’s summer intensive will also feature many guest instructors including Maria Kowroski, principal ballerina with New York City Ballet and Sascha Radetsky, star of the movie Center Stage and former soloist with American Ballet Theatre. 

In addition to leading a stellar group of instructors, Neal hopes to impart more than technique to his students.

“Training is as much about learning how to jump and turn, as it is about learning dignity and humility. I think those are principles that Peter and I  have in common,” said Neal. “Students joining us this summer will improve their training, mindset, discipline and humility, all the things they need to survive and succeed as a dancer in a professional environment.”

For more information on NGB’s summer intensive, including a full list of guest instructors, visit

Monday, March 2, 2015

Extended camp hours available

The Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center is pleased to offer extended camp hours before and after  some of our most popular performing arts camps this year!

Many of our Conservatory summer camps, including our popular Musical Theater Camp, are offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year, we’ve added our Pre- and Post- camps to give families the flexibility of extended hours.

Before and after camp, students enjoy age-appropriate arts and crafts, movies, activities and theater games.

Pre- and post- camps are offered Monday through Friday from Jun. 8 through Aug. 14, 2015.

Pre-camps are offered from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Post-camps are offered from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Pre- and post-camps are $25 per week each, or $40 when added together during the same week.

The Patel Conservatory offers more than 50 summer camps and classes in dance, music and theater. For more information, visit, or call 813.222.1002.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Three times the cuteness in Winnie the Pooh Kids!

Antony, Gian and Stefan
Like little ducklings, the Simonetti boys file in to the Patel Conservatory every week, either with their little guitar cases slung over their shoulders, or ready to sing and dance. The 7-year-old triplets, Antony, Gian and Stefan, have been coming to the Conservatory for two years. They started with guitar lessons, and later added musical theater.

This weekend, the boys make their stage debut in Patel Conservatory Theater’s Winnie the Pooh Kids.

“They’re very excited about it,” said mom Sherri Simonetti.

The boys have watched the show on TV for years, they have Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals on their beds, and even have had breakfast with their favorite Pooh characters during their trip to Disney World.

Now they get to help bring one of their favorite Disney shows to life as they play a family of possums in the Hundred Acre Wood.

“The songs are my most favorite part about being on stage,” said Gian.

As part of a cast of more than 30 second through fourth graders, Gian, Antony and Stefan are learning more than the songs and choreography.

“They can carry a tune, they have good voices, but I also want them to build confidence, and getting on stage by yourself is a pretty brave thing to do when you’re seven years old,” said Sherri.

Whether practicing guitar or singing in a show, Sherri sees the boys building lifelong skills through the arts.

“There’s a balance in life between intellect and art and one feeds the other,” she said. “Music is feeds different parts of the brain and different parts of the soul. It makes for a more well-rounded person.”

But as far as the boys are concerned, they’re just having fun.

“We like to do musical theater, music, acting...because it’s fun,” said Antony.

Check out the three possums and their furry friends in Winnie the Pooh Kids, Feb. 26 through Mar. 1, 2015 at the Patel Conservatory.

For tickets or more info, click here.

Join us for Camp-A-Palooza 2015!

Ready for some summer fun? Join us for free food, fun and prizes at the Patel Conservatory’s Camp-A-Palooza!

Patel Conservatory's
Sat., Mar. 21, 2015
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bring your friends and come hang out with us on Tampa’s beautiful Riverwalk and learn how you can become a part of one of the largest performing arts centers in the country!

Enjoy live music from our Rock School bands and performances from our Barbershop quartet, award-winning dance Show Team and a preview from Fiddler on the Roof.

Then, join in on the fun with free interactive demonstrations. Let the kids make some noise with our percussion demo, and instrumental demos from Sam Ash Music, get some free vocal tips, try your hand at Improv, and sing along to Aladdin's A Whole New World.

Description: Description: Description: scriptlogo2It's your opportunity to tour the Conservatory, check out our theater and studios, meet staff and ask questions.

There'll be free face painting and a chance to win a family 4-pack to the Broadway production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and other shows.

The Patel Conservatory offers a variety of  summer camps and classes in dance, theater and music, for preschoolers to adults.  

Learn how your kids can perform on stage in Shrek the Musical or Disney’s Aladdin, Jr.! From Mini Musical Theater camps to pre-professional training, there’s something for everyone.
New camps this year include our Popular Dance Intensive, led by award-winning choreographer Kelly King, and our instrumental camps including Jazz Intensive, Chamber Music and Vocal Intensives and Drumline.

Extended camps hours are now available before and after most camps.

Enjoy samples from PDQ, EVOS, our summer camp lunch partner, cotton candy, and more.

Register early and save! Register for summer camps or classes by Mar. 28, 2015 and receive 10% off!*

For more information, call 813-222-1002 or visit

Don't miss the fun! See you at Camp-A-Palooza!

*Discount not available for Next Generation Ballet Intensives.