Friday, July 30, 2010

Ready to rock!

Today's spotlight is on Rock School drummer Gian Rivera.

Rivera, 17, of Riverview, is a self-taught drummer who's been playing since he was about 15.

"I never really joined a school band," said Rivera. "I just bought a drum set one day and started playing."

Rock School bands are gearing up for next week's Rock School Blowout.
When he saw the brochures for Rock School, he thought, "That sounds pretty cool because I'm into rock."

He got hooked up with a Rock School band, playing heavy metal. When another band needed a drummer, he joined that group, too. He'll be jamming with both groups at the Rock School Blowout next Sunday, Aug. 8.

"I've been looking forward to [the Blowout] since the first day I started," said Rivera, who also plays in a third band he formed with some friends from school, Absinthe.

In just a couple of years, Rivera's gone from casually playing the drums to playing in three different bands. His band Absinthe has played at various clubs in Ybor City, and will play the Skate Park of Tampa next Saturday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m.

"It feels cool to play in front of a crowd," said Rivera. "When the crowd stops and looks at you, you get a rush from it."

Want to join a band? Auditions for the next session of Rock School are coming up soon. For more information about the Rock School Blowout, or upcoming auditions, call 222-1002.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PCYT performs Cinderella this weekend

The word is out about the Patel Conservatory Youth Theater (PCYT)!

Just ask Lily Barnett-Mould, 10, who came all the way from Burlington, NC to participate in our PCYT summer theater experience. Lily heard about the program from friends, and was thrilled to come to Tampa for the opportunity to perform in a full-scale production.

Students from PCYT rehearse for Cinderella.
"This is more serious than in a little community theater," said Lily, who plays a flower seller in the upcoming PCYT performance of Cinderella.

Lily's been performing in local theater since she was 8 years old, first in London where she lived at the time, and then in North Carolina. Her most recent role was Gretel for a spring break camp performance of Hansel and Gretel.

Now she's commuting close to an hour from Pinellas every day, where she and her mom are staying with friends.

She's excited to be part of a large ensemble with full costumes. Her part in Cinderella includes a scene where she must fight with another character over the glass slipper.

"I get to have that moment when everyone's looking at me, and I get to show that I can do big things," said Lily. "It's a small part in a big show. But it's a better experience that will lead to bigger parts."

Students in the PCYT summer program have been preparing for the past two and a half weeks for Cinderella.

"She's exhausted, but she springs up and is ready to go every morning," said Lily's mom Brooke Barnett, a professor at Elon University in North Carolina. Brooke has been telecommuting so her daughter can be here for the Cinderella experience.

She added, "As a professor, I find students with theater experience do well. It taps into their creativity, and helps them become better writers and thinkers."

Cinderella plays this Thurs., July 29 and Fri., July 30 at 7:30 p.m. Click here for ticket information.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Adult students gearing up for summer showcase

Submitted by Beth Miller, Community Ambassador

Spring Showcase, Adult Hip Hop
Just two weeks until the Summer Student Showcase! The showcase is a culmination of the 10-week adult summer classes including dance, theater and voice.

For the past eight weeks, I've been taking Susan Downy's Adult Hip Hop class. I've loved being a part of the adult dance program. At first, it's intimidating to get back into dance classes as a returning adult student. But when you arrive and see that everyone is in the same boat as you, you immediately feel at ease.  The ages vary, but everyone is encouraging.

Our hip hop class is a beginner class, but the combinations are surprisingly challenging. I find myself engaging muscles I didn't realize were involved in some basic hip hop moves. Things that look so easy on music videos are harder to execute than you'd imagine.

Some of us have taken classes at the Patel Conservatory before, and for some, it'll be their first showcase performance. Tuesday night, we all exchanged nervous glances as we rehearsed our upcoming dance routines. We all agreed that only two classes left to get it committed to memory just doesn't seem like enough. But having done this before, I know it will all come together, as it always does for any show. When the lights come up, your body somehow kicks into action and you surprise yourself with what you've learned.

And when it's done, the elation of putting it all together lasts for weeks, or even years.

Come check out our Summer Student Showcase, which will be Saturday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m.

Fall classes start soon, and now you can register online.

What do you love about performing? Do you get nervous, or does it all subside when the lights come up?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Find Cinderella's glass slipper

Okay theater fans, here's your chance for some Facebook fun.

In anticipation of the upcoming summer PCYT production of Cinderella, we'll be searching the Tampa Bay area for a perfect fit for Cinderella's glass slipper. Click "like" on our Patel Conservatory Facebook page. Then, whenever we post pictures of Cinderella's glass slipper (like this one shown), guess its location in the Tampa Bay area. Comment with your guess!

If you saw Fame in June, or any of our PCYT shows, you know what an amazingly professional and entertaining show they put on! Cinderella is sure to fill your heart with magic! The show will be July 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m.

In the meantime, find the glass slipper on Facebook, and don't forget to click on "Share" so everyone can play along!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Start your tour of the Tampa Riverwalk at the Patel Conservatory

Have you checked out the Tampa Riverwalk yet? It’s the city's ongoing project to create a continuous pedestrian walkway downtown along the Hillsborough River. Many phases are complete, including the beautiful waterfront behind the Patel Conservatory and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
If you have time to kill while you’re waiting for your kids in class at the Patel Conservatory, take a stroll along the Riverwalk. 

This week through Wednesday, you can head down the Riverwalk to see the Tall Ships.
On Saturday, while my son was in Rock School, I got in my work out by walking to the Tall Ships. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining on the river as boats went by. It was fabulous! No, our city is not a bustling downtown as far as cities go, but it is possible to get that downtown feel.
To follow the Riverwalk, , cross over Cass Street (behind the library), then follow the river along Curtis Hixon Park, and the new Malio’s steakhouse. At Malio’s go out onto Ashley Dr. and follow Ashley Dr. all the way to the Convention Center.
At the Convention Center, the waterfront was busy with activity with the Tall Ships in town.
The roundtrip walk from the Patel Conservatory to the Convention Center was no more than 45 minutes. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, or make it more of a work out by going up and down the steps on the waterfront side of the Convention Center, and adding some lunges and push-ups at the park. Don't forget to wear walking shoes and bring water.
If you have toddlers, heading over to the misting fountains at Curtis Hixon, just a block away, is a fun way to pass an hour before or after classes or camps, or while waiting for older kids.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Patel Conservatory instructors present We Are ONE

Take a glimpse at what some of our Patel Conservatory instructors are up to this weekend in the TECO Theater here at the Straz Center.
Paulette Rolle-Alesnik, hip hop dance instructor, and Nicki Wright, musical theater instructor, have teamed up for a musical called We Are ONE, featuring local talent.
Produced and written by Rolle-Alesnik and directed by Wright, the show is about prejudice and discrimination against all types of people.
“We’re all connected, and we’re all God’s children,” said Rolle-Alesnik, “We don’t have to agree with others, or even be next to them, but we can love them.”
The play covers everything from obesity to the elderly, race, religion, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.
Rolle-Alesnik says she was inspired by how the country came together for Haiti relief after the earthquake. A native of the Bahamas, she’d taken several mission trips to Haiti prior to the earthquake.
“It’s been there all along and they’ve been poor for so long, but the world has not paid attention,” she said.
All of the proceeds from the show will be used to purchase tents for Haitians residents in need.
Though written by Rolle-Alesnik, she looks at it as more of a collaborative effort. For the script, she interviewed people from all walks of life, and even some of the cast members, about their own personal experiences with discrimination.
She tried to approach real life anecdotes with a sense of humor in order to bring awareness.
“These are recent events, not something that happened in the 60’s,” she said. “We have to co-exist in this world...let’s paint the world with love.”

You can see We Are ONE this Sunday, July 11 at 4 and 7 p.m. in the TECO Theater.

The cast and crew of We Are ONE playing this weekend in TECO Theater. Producer Paulette Rolle-Alesnik back row, second from left.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spotlight on Thalia Arbelaez

Today's spotlight is on Thalia Arbelaez. When it comes to pursuing one’s passion, Thalia is an inspiration.
Thalia has Down Syndrome. Her mother was told when she was born that she’d never walk, but at age 17, Thalia now enjoys taking all kinds of dance from ballet to belly dancing.
She’s been taking dance since she was 2 years old, and started at the Patel Conservatory six years ago, taking everything from tap and ballet to flamenco. This week she’s enjoying the Dance for Musical Theater camp.
“Her dream is to perform on the Disney Channel,” said Thalia’s mother Alicia. She’ll be one step closer to that dream next weekend when she’ll perform at a Disney resort at the National Down Syndrome Congress convention.
Thalia will be performing both a Flamenco and a belly dancing solo. (She takes private belly dancing lessons at home.)
“All the class choices [at the Patel Conservatory] is great for anybody,” said Alicia. “You opened the door for Thalia. You don’t see differences in age, race or color...When I see her face, I’m so grateful.
Check out Thalia’s story on 10 Connects News.
Her story reminds us that, regardless of the outcome, the process of working towards a dream lets us live out our passions. How are you pursuing your passion?

Thalia Arbelaez pictured above left.