Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kerry Glamsch directs Our Town

In November, our Patel Conservatory Youth Theater (PCYT) students in grades nine through college will perform Our Town, directed by guest instructor Kerry Glamsch.
Glamsch has a BA in theater from USF and earned an MFA as a Michener fellow at the University of Texas, Austin. He worked as an Equity actor for years and has taught at the Patel Conservatory from its inception until 2007.
He taught theater at USF from 2003 until 2010. He directed a number of critically acclaimed plays, was a Fulbright lecturer at University of Craiova, and has taught acting workshops in Tazania, Bucharest, Bali, and New Zealand. His screenplays have won numerous awards, and his fiction has been published extensively.
Under Glamsch’s tutelage, students in the PCYT program will build acting and performance skills, and gain the experience of being part of a pre-professional production.
Our Town has been translated into hundreds of languages and performed worldwide, being the most produced play ever, next to Shakespeare.

Students in younger grades can look forward to the productions of
The Bear Went Over the Mountain and Once Upon a Mattress next spring. Our fall musical theater classes get students ready for spring performances through multi-faceted training in
dance, acting and vocal arts, garnering the experience from our professional faculty in all three departments.
Acting classes focus on acting techniques that broaden the skill set of the actor.
Visit our full schedule of theater classes online, or call 813.222.1002 to schedule your audition appointment.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ballet instructor shares her passion for classical ballet

The Patel Conservatory is proud to welcome new assistant principal for the Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet, Laurie Jones.
Jones fell in love with classical ballet as a child.
“I started dancing when I was seven,” said Jones. “I just loved it. It sounds corny, but it was just so beautiful...What can I say? I got the bug.”
As a youth, she trained at the prestigious Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB), with Marcia Dale Weary. Her family moved to Little Rock, Ark., for a period, but at age 14, her family moved back to Carlisle. She continued her training again at CPYB, where she performed principal roles that included the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and Balanchine's Concerto Barocco.
“A very special moment for me was my last year at CPYB, when I played the principal in the Concerto Barocco,” said Jones, “The ballet is a masterpiece, it really is...I never expected to get the lead in that ballet. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.”
Jones went on to train at the School of American Ballet with Alexandra Danilova, Suki Shorer, Stanley Williams, Antonia Tumkovski, Kay Mazzo, Susan Pilarre and Andrei Kramarevsky. At 21, she was ready to leave New York City and returned to CPYB to start her teaching career.
She has subsequently taught for the Ballet Mississippi (with Fernando Bujones), Allegheny Ballet Company, Ballet Arkansas and Orlando Ballet School. 
She’s thrilled to be joining the dance faculty at the Patel Conservatory.
“The tremendous growth of this program, and what they’ve done here, it’s just amazing,” said Jones, who is also enamored with our connection to the Straz Center.
“Being a part of the Straz Center is wonderful. I mean, we’re doingThe Nutcracker in Morsani Hall. This is amazing!” she said.
There is definitely something to be said for being part of the largest performing arts center in the Southeast.
“I get to go to staff meetings at the Jaeb, it's really cool!” Last year, Jones drove from Orlando to see Davids Parsons at the Straz Center and loved it. She’s excited for her students to have these opportunities to not only be exposed to the various styles of dance through performances at the Center, but also have opportunities to train with visiting artists throughout the year.
She is looking forward to sharing her passion for dance with her students.

Conservatory students named among Creative Loafing's top 20 rising stars

Photo: Creative Loafing
Congratulations to three of our Patel Conservatory students who were named in this week's Creative Loafing among Tampa Bay's promising young artists.

The article focused on 20 of the area's promising young artists under the age of 25, and among them were Next Generation Ballet dancers Hannah Bettes and Hannah Beach, and Patel Conservatory piano student and recent Tampa's Got Talent winner John Pfingsten.

Beach, who received a full scholarship and will study this fall at the Royal Ballet School of London, was also recently featured on Bay News 9 and in the Tampa Tribune.

We concur with Creative Loafing that these young artists, recognized for their drive and focus, are bound for success!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dance card offers convenient option to try a variety of classes.

Looking for ways to boost your energy level and decrease tension?
Try one of our community dance classes! Increase your fitness level and feel the day to day toils melt away in any one of our adult classes, from hip hop to flamenco.
If you simply can’t choose which class to take, or you want the flexibility of various days and times, you can try them all with our new convenient Dance Card option! Purchase a  5 or 10 class card and then join any of our community dance classes when it's convenient for you.
I’ve taken ballet, hip-hop and tap, and in nearly every class, our age range spanned from college to seniors. I’m always amazed at how the instructors make everyone feel completely comfortable. The collective attitude seems to be: we’re all in this together! And the instructors seamlessly adapt to make it challenging enough for everyone, from beginners to advanced.
Level 1: Mondays, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Level 2: Tuesdays at Tampa Prep, 6 to 7:15 p.m.
Level 3: Tuesdays at Tampa Prep , 7:15 to 8:30 p.m.
A fun, fast-paced class that will get your feet moving and your heart pumping! You’ll start with the fundamental steps in the Intro class, then move at a quicker pace and work on syncopation and choreography in the more advanced classes.
Ballet 1: Beginning
Mondays, 7 to 8:30
For students who’d like to try ballet for the first time, or those who are returning to ballet class after a hiatus. Improve posture, core strength and balance through the fundamental ballet exercises.
Ballet 2: Intermediate/Advanced
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
For the more practiced student who’d like to continue their ballet study and improve form and technique.
Jazz Dance
Mondays, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
This energetic class will get you moving to a variety of music, from pop to Broadway classics.
Thursdays, 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.
Drawing on a variety of modern and post-modern techniques, you’ll learn fundamental concepts of contemporary dance, such as the use of the dance space, release of weight and body alignment.
Contemporary Dance: Performance Class
Thurs., 7:45 - 8:30 p.m.
Apply skills from the Contemporary Dance class as you learn choreography for a final showcase performance.
Flamenco Dance
Fridays, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Unwind at the end of the week with this popular class that teaches rhythmic patterns and characteristics of Flamenco music styles.
Adult Hip-Hop
Wednesdays, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
You’ll feel like you’re in a music video as you learn urban street dance moves set to popular hip-hop music.
For questions, or to register, call 813-222-1002. You can even register online.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Patel Conservatory welcomes new piano instructor

The Patel Conservatory welcomes piano instructor Joshua Sawicki to our faculty. 
Sawicki, left, with the USF President's Trio.
Sawicki recently returned from the Chautauqua Musical Festival in New York.
“It was seven weeks of intense classes and performances,” said Sawicki. “I’ve attended three summers. I go back each year because they’ve been really eye opening in learning about myself as a pianist and as a person.”
At the festival, Sawicki has had the opportunity to study with Rebecca Penneys, professor at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.
“She’s one of the most amazing educators I’ve ever known. She opens all these doors in your mind,” said Sawicki. “She showed me that every student learns differently, and you have to teach in every kind of way.”
Sawicki explains that teaching piano is all about understanding each student and what will work well for him/her. From music selection to recognizing the student’s threshold for comprehension, every choice is a delicate balance in helping a student feel equally challenged and successful.
“You have to make careful choices from moment to moment and week to week that will open up new doors they didn’t know were there,” said Sawicki.
Sawicki has been playing piano since he was four years old. He recalls the defining moment when he decided to pursue music as a career.
“When I played Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin with my high school symphony orchestra, it was a great moment for me. I got a standing ovation both nights,” said Sawicki.
He was born in New Britain, CT and grew up just outside of Hartford. He graduated from Boston University with a B.M in Piano Performance, and he spent a year at the London Royal College of Music where he studied the Alexander Technique, a method study for performers in understanding body movement as it pertains to their craft.
Sawicki is currently working on his master’s degree at USF, where he also teaches a Piano Ensemble class and is a member of the President’s Trio, a piano trio whose members receive scholarships and stipends funded by the USF president.
One of the most common questions he gets from parents is, How much should my child practice piano?
“Piano practice is like working out your muscles,” he said. “It’s better to do small amounts every single day rather than an hour one or two days a week. When you break it into smaller chunks every day, the music is always simmering in the back of your brain.”
For more information on private piano lessons at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa, please call 222-1273, or email music@strazcenter.org.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Welcome back!

Happy Back to School week!
We had a great time at the Back to School Fair last week at the Glazer Children’s Museum. Susan Downey’s adult tappers performed and Downey gave a mini tap class for the kids. The kids and parents loved it!

Now that the last minute school shopping is done, and fall schedules are in place, if you haven't registered yet, it’s time to get you and your kids signed up for enrichment classes at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa.

We’re gearing up for an incredible year, with more classes and offerings for all ages and skill levels. So whether you’re a kid or kid at heart, we welcome you to join us and renew your creative spirit!

What's new?

In dance, the popular Hip Hop Show Team returns, as well as the adult hip hop dance class. We've also added an adult Strength and Stretch class perfect for moms who need a break in their day or professionals on their lunch break. Join us on Mondays, from 12 to 1 p.m., for this invigorating mix of yoga and core strengthening.

In theater, we've refined our curriculum so that students can choose their focus. Our youth theater and adult acting courses follow a progressive path from fall to spring, building on acquired skills throughout the year.

In music, we've expanded our jazz program to include four jazz ensembles and two vocal arts choirs. Of course, we continue to offer our exceptional Rock School and Youth Orchestra programs, both of which are an excellent way for students to apply what they learn from private instrument lessons.

Please check out our full schedule online, or call at 813-222-1002 to receive a fall catalog. Our registrar will be happy to assist you in figuring out the best class for you or your child.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Patel Conservatory student productions rival professionals

Don’t you just love that feeling when you come out of a play or movie, or any live theater event, thinking, That was sooo good! ...And so much better than I expected!
It’s the feeling many parents get when they attend one of our Patel Conservatory productions for the first time. Whether it’s music, theater or dance, they walk in thinking, recital, and come out feeling dazzled, entertained and just blown away.
Tallulah Nouss in Seussical the Musical, Jr.
It’s what Debbie Nouss experienced at the Patel Conservatory Youth Theater’s recent production of Seussical the Musical, Jr.
“It was the most professional performance. It was Broadway quality,” said Nouss.
A veteran television actor herself, and a veteran audience member of her kids’ dance recitals, community theater performances and band concerts, she was deeply impressed by the level of professionalism garnered from a group of kids in second to fourth grade.
“The talent that Patel [Conservatory] was able to cultivate was amazing,” said Nouss. “Even if the kids weren’t professional actors and singers, the show was put together so that no one looked amateurish.”
Nouss’ daughter certainly had her part in surprising and dazzling the audience. Playing the role of Mayzie, Tallulah Nouss made a stunning Patel Conservatory debut.
“My character was very sassy, it was fun playing a character like that,” said Tallulah. “All the dances that I did were really fun, and I was able to use all my talents, singing, dancing and acting.”
Tallulah has been taking dance lessons since she was two years old. Now, at only nine years old, she competes with five dance teams at All American Dance Factory (tap, jazz, lyrical, acro and musical theater), taking classes five days a week. She also competes as a soloist and participates frequently in master classes and workshops, where she recently caught the attention of New York choreographer Andy Pellick who offered to choreograph a solo for her.
She’s auditioned for Billy Elliot in New York City, and recently won a scholarship for workshops from West Coast Dance.
In addition to dance, Tallulah participates in community theater and takes private voice lessons as her schedule permits. She’s well on her way to becoming what the entertainment industry calls a triple threat: someone who can dance, act and sing.
“When I saw Alice in Wonderland, Jr. I really wanted to be in a production [at the Patel Conservatory],” said Tallulah. “They looked like they were really all together.”
Tallulah wasn’t disappointed. With instructors who are professional artists in the industry, the Patel Conservatory is able to draw from a pool of talent for their productions. Seussical was choreographed by Susan Downey, a veteran Broadway dancer, and directed by Emilia Sargent, a local actor with extensive experience in the entertainment industry. Musica director was Deborah Lynch, an accomplished accompanist, vocal coach and performer.
Our students frequently get to work with top talent, from our own staff to guest instructors and visiting artists at the Straz. In addition, they get the advantage of performing on one our Straz stages with exceptional production staff, giving them professional stage experience.
“It was much better than being in a community theater play,” said Tallulah. “I’d love to come back for other plays.”
With her busy dance schedule, Tallulah will probably have to wait until next summer to join one of our youth theater productions, but her brother is interested in joining our Rock School program.
“I’d love for [Tallulah] to one day get into Tisch,” said Debbie. (Two of our alumni did! Click here to read more!) “It’s important for kids who want to do this to learn dancing, singing and acting, and you guys have it all there.”

With extensive classes in dance, music and theater, the Patel Conservatory is a premier training ground for the performing arts. Our alumni are being accepted in prestigious acting, dance and music programs nationally and internationally.

Fall classes start soon! For more information on classes and schedules, click here

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Spotlight on John Pfingsten

For years, John Pfingsten and his sister Abigale have studied classical piano.
Siblings John and Abigale Pfingsten
performed for the residents at
Brighton Gardens in April.
They’ve competed strongly with both the National Federation of Music Clubs, and for the National Piano Guild auditions, performing traditional classical pieces.
But John Pfingsten departed from his usual classical repertoire in favor of a jazz piece for the Patel Conservatory’s recent Tampa’s Got Talent competition. And the judges responded.
John’s rendition of the St. Louis Blues won him a scholarship for the Patel Conservatory’s jazz ensemble.
“It’s the only jazz piece I’ve played,” said John, 11, of Lutz. “I’m very excited I got the scholarship, and to do this ensemble. I’ve never actually done something like this before.”
“We’re all excited, I’m blessed!” said Melo Pfingsten, John’s mother. “John picked the song he wanted to play at Tampa’s Got Talent...It’s the only one he hadn’t played for judging.”
At a recent National Piano Guild audition, John had to stick with the Guild’s guidelines, and the jazz piece, which he learned for a school performance, didn’t qualify. So he was eager to play it for Tampa’s Got Talent.
“He practiced for two months,” said Melo.
The Pfingstens have been with the Patel Conservatory for two years. John and Abigale take private piano lessons with instructor John Hernandez. Abigale also takes ballet and musical theater classes. She recently performed in PCYT's Seussical the Musical, Jr., and competed in Tampa's Got Talent. Their younger brother Samuel took Piano Lab over the summer and hopes to start private lessons soon.
John and Abigale performed in the National Federation of Music Clubs state convention in May, in which John was awarded his first Gold Cup for achieving superior scores for three consecutive years.

The family stays busy with their lessons, practice and competitions.
“They sacrifice a lot of play time with their friends, but hard work brings greater success,” said Melo. “They realize it’s worth it.”
“I really enjoy it,” said John. “I think the most fun part is when I get a new song. I like starting to get into it, and getting better and better.”

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jazz program expanded this fall

The Patel Conservatory in Tampa will hold auditions this month for their music programs.

Enhance your private music lessons with ensemble and performance experience through one of our many music classes, including jazz ensemble, orchestra and Rock School.
This fall, we’ve added additional jazz ensembles. Learn about the rich traditions of jazz through theory and practice, and, gain improvisation and ensemble skills through performances.
Beginning and Intermediate Jazz Ensemble
Students must have basic playing skills on one of these instruments: saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass, piano or percussion (drum set). These ensembles perform twice each year in public performances.
Advanced Jazz Ensemble
Students work on advanced improvisation and solo work.
The Jazz Elite Ensemble is comprised of a highly-select group of high school and college jazz musicians who study and perform extraordinary jazz works by great composers.
Auditions for the Jazz Program will be Aug. 16 and 23, 2011 from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please e-mail music@strazcenter.org or call 813.222.1273 for your audition appointment.

Announcing the winners of the 2011 Tampa's Got Talent

The Patel Conservatory is pleased to announce the winners of this year's Tampa’s Got Talent.
More than 130 contestants showed up last month for the annual competition. They danced, sang, played musical instruments and acted for the chance to win a scholarship. In addition to talent, judges looked for passion and willingness to learn to determine the winners.
Congratulations to the following people who’ve each has been awarded a scholarship to a class at the Patel Conservatory!
Diane Andrieux - adult music
Katie Fitzsimmons, theater
Madalyn Macko, vocal music
John Pfingsten, instrumental music 
Andrieux, 26, a University of South Florida graduate, will take the Musical Theater Cabaret class in the fall.
Macko, 10, of Valrico, recently performed as a munchkin in the national touring production of The Wizard of Oz. She will enroll in the Patel Conservatory’s Vocal Arts Junior Choir.
Pfingsten, 11, of Lutz, has studied piano at the Patel Conservatory for two years, and will enroll in the Intermediate Jazz Ensemble.
Fitzsimmons, a talented young actress, will join the Patel Conservatory Youth Theater as a cast member of Our Town.
A heartfelt thank you to all of the contestants who came out last month for making this annual event a success!
You can still be a part of the magic! With more than 100 classes in dance, music and theater, check out our schedule online to find the one that's right for you! (To view classes by department [dance, music, theater], click on 'genre' at the top right of the schedule.)
You can be a part of the magic here at the Patel Conservatory, where every day students dream, reach, discover and create!

Monday, August 1, 2011

NGB guest blog: changed for the better

by Amber Shriver, NGB dancer and Patel Conservatory marketing intern.
Friday, July 29, 2011

Life is a series of choices
Sitting at the hotel computer (since a coffee accident ruined my laptop), I find it shocking that the five weeks of the Next Generation Ballet summer intensive are over and this is my final entry. In a way, the ending seems almost anti-climatic, surreal, really, as if it’s not really over and tomorrow I will wake up, get coffee and go to dance class rather than get on a plane to go home. 
As I ponder the last five weeks, I find myself asking the question, Was it worth it?

The hours were long, the work was demanding and endless; and I find myself searching for that defining moment, that epiphany, that second outside of time where I just knew this is where I was supposed to be. As I sit here searching, I realize that I have no single moments that will define the rest of my life.
Maybe that’s what life is, not a series of defining moments but a process, a series of choices that may seem insignificant individually, but, looked at in aggregate, shape our lives. As I told my residents, when we talked about being nice and trying to be good people: one choice does not make you a good or an awful person. It is the series of choices made throughout your life that determine whether you are a good person.
What choices have I made here that I am proud of?
I feel like I have really learned how to choose to live a balanced life here. I made consistent choices that enabled me to live a healthy lifestyle, investing in myself so that I have the energy to invest in others. And I think I chose to fix my ballet technical weakness, a choice that I hope to continue in the future.

This experience has changed me in the little ways, it has...
...made me more responsible, as I have had to be accountable for the lives of the 10 children under my supervision.
...helped me to learn to balance things like faith and dance and work and family and academics (studying for the GMAT, fun, fun, fun) and having a social life.
..reminded me of the importance of taking care of myself, so that I have energy to invest in all of those things.
...helped me iron out my priorities as I prepared to return home for a very busy school year.
...taught me that I shouldn’t be friends with people indiscriminately. I have to pick and choose who I spend time with because time is valuable, and there are some people who you just don’t need in your life.
...given me perspective as I’ve helped my residents deal with all of the problems that seem so monumental in high school, such as not having money to buy a t-shirt or being in love with a really cute guy who doesn’t notice you (actually that still seems like a monumental problem), or a first relationship or problems with an already established relationship, or just having a bad day. It made me to wonder which of my problems that seem so monumental now will seem trivial in 5 years.
...made me more compassionate as I was reminded that there are more forms of poverty than just monetary poverty, and as I was forced to react with compassion when it would have been easier to judge others for things that they are lacking.
But none of these changes represent a finished product, nor are they guaranteed to stay with with me after I get home. I hope to continue making the choices that will make these changes a permanent reality.

Beginning a new journey
So, as I sit here, writing my last blog, I don’t feel like the journey is ending. In some ways, I feel like it's the beginning. I hope I can use what I’ve learned here as a stepping stone to create an amazing future.

Regardless of what that future holds, I am grateful to the teachers and to my co-workers here for providing me with amazing role models and giving me the courage, inspiration, strength and knowledge to face the unknown future with commitment, discipline and grace.
Reflecting on my experience and on myself as a person, I can’t help thinking of not only the great writers and dancers who have come before me, but also of the people who have worked their entire lives hoping for the chance to have their words read by hundreds of people or for the chance to perform in front of an audience. I realize I am incredibly lucky to have had both of those honors during my time here at the Patel Conservatory. There’s something humbling about that knowledge, and something awesome about that amount of responsibility. It makes me wonder not if the experience was worth it, but if I was worthy of the experience.
Thank you to the residents and dancers
I am immensely grateful for the opportunity that I have been given. I would like to thank my residents and also my readers for letting me share in your lives. I hope that my words have not only entertained you, but also given you strength to face your future. I hope that God will fill your heart with dreams, and that faith gives you the courage to dare to do great things. I am here for you, whatever life brings, so let my love give you roots, and help you find your wings. I wish you all the best, and I hope that whatever you work for, hope for and pray for happens.
Changed for the better
I can never know what would have happened if I hadn’t come here, or who I would be.  But I do know this, this experience has changed me in such a way that I do feel worthy of the experience, and for that I will be forever grateful. Again, I thank the teachers, the students, the wonderful co-workers and my blog readers for this chance.
I end with words of someone much more clever than me: Glinda, from Wicked, “Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better, but because I knew you I have been changed for good.”