Monday, April 30, 2012

Youth orchestra performs original composition

The Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra (PCYO) spring concert boasts some exciting additions this year!
With guest performances, original music and unique elements, this Sunday’s concert is sure to a be a great event for the whole family.
The Patel Conservatory Chamber Orchestra will premiere an original work, Miniature London Symphony by Night, written exclusively for PCCO by Martin Gaughan, a London-based composer.
The piece was commissioned as part of conductor Stephen Brown’s mission to perform contemporary music by living composers.
In a previous blog, Brown said, “We live in a developing world. The youth of today should contribute to that development by playing music written in their time...There are few youth orchestras that have that kind of focus.”
Patel Conservatory Rock School band Wasted Youth will make a guest appearance, performing rock classics arranged for this concert.
The concert will also feature accomplished vocal students Marty Gallinari, Gabie Barnes and Lucas Coura; and piano instructor Joshua Sawicki will perform a concerto by Ellen Swilich.
Don’t miss this combination of both modern music and the classics!
The concert is this Sun., May 8, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. in Ferguson Hall. Click here for tickets.

Congratulation to NGB medal winners at YAGP finals

Congratulations to Next Generation Ballet dancers who competed in the finals of the Youth America Grand Prix competition in New York City last week!
Hannah Bettes
Hannah Bettes was awarded the Gold Medal in the Senior Division for Women!
Olivia Gusti, Gabrielle Beach and Kemper Cassada were also finalists in their divisions, and 
Landon Harris and Hannah Stanford were semi-finalists.
Kemper Cassada, Hannah Stanford and Gabrielle Beach were awarded scholarships to the Royal Ballet School in London.
Katherine Grones was awarded a scholarship to the Princess Grace Academy in Monoco; and Olivia Gusti was awarded a scholarship to the Dresden Ballet Academy.
We’re so proud of all our students for participating in this prestigious competition alongside top dancers from around the world!
Congratulations to these students for their exceptional hard work!

Don't miss your chance to see the beautiful Next Generation Ballet dancers in the exquisite Swan Lake on May 12, 2012.
NGB dancers at the YAGP Gala following the competition.

Piano students compete at state convention

Congratulations to the Pfingsten family who have three children going to the state 2012 Florida Federation of Music Clubs Junior Convention this weekend.
Patel Conservatory piano students Abigale, 13, John, 12, and Samuel Pfingsten, 8, participated in the district auditions of the National Federation of Music Clubs in Tampa in February. All received superior ratings from judges on their performances in all categories (piano solo, piano duet and piano concerto), which qualified them to move on to the state convention.
“I’m so proud to hear the judge’s feedback on how well they played,” said their piano instructor John Hernandez.
Abigale and John have been taking private lessons with Hernandez at the Conservatory for nearly three years, and Samuel began lessons six months ago.
Abigale performed solo pieces by Mary Leaf and Albert Pieczonka, of which the judges commented she had “fantastic technique,” said Hernandez. She also played a Mozart concerto.
John, who won last year's Tampa's Got Talent, performed solo pieces by Claudette Hudelson and Sergei Prokofiev, which, according one judge's comments, were "masterfully played." He also performed a concerto by Haydn
“A concerto has a lot of demands, technically and musically...The judges were impressed by the maturity level of their playing for their age,” said Hernandez. 
Samuel Pfingsten performed solo pieces by Rebecca Lewis and Judy E. Wells.
“Sam is very controlled for his age,” said Hernandez. “The kids work really hard, that really helps. And it motivates me as a teacher.”
Abigale and John also performed a duet by M. Mier and O. Respighi. This weekend, Hernandez will be accompanying them on their concertos.

"One of the good things about moving on is that they will get to perform with the best students from around the state," said Hernandez.
Best wishes to these students as they compete at the state competition this weekend, May 4 and 5, 2012 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spotlight on Ashley Hilton

In honor of National Dance Week, we’d like to take a moment to recognize Ashley Hilton, our Dance Administrative Supervisor extraordinaire!
In addition to knowing almost every ballet parent by name, coordinating recitals, professional ballet productions and summer intensives, and teaching classes, Ashley also spends a good deal of her time on the phone answering questions for parents interested in our programs.
“When we started [Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet], I remember reaching 100 students and we were so excited. Now we have over 300 kids in the program,” said Ashley. “I spend a lot of time on the phone with parents with tons of questions about housing and education, and all their options.”
She says, with the growth of Next Generation Ballet, she’s fielding calls from parents around the country, and even other countries, who are considering bringing their children here for full-time training. It’s a major decision, and naturally, they have lots of valid questions and concerns.
“I enjoy it because I think our program is a great place for their kids to train, I just wish I had more time in the day,” she laughed.
Ashley graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.F.A in Dance Performance and a minor in Business. She teaches Preparatory and Level 1A for the Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet.
Ashley was featured in Dance Magazine for her
work with students at Metropolitan Minitries.
She also teaches ballet for the Conservatory at the Metropolitan Ministries partnership school, a Hillsborough County school for homeless and at risk students.
“It’s one of the highlights of my week because the kids are so happy to see me,” said Ashley. “You can see the joy in their faces. They’re so excited. They love the attention, I think.”
The kids in those classes come from a largely transient community and have been through a lot, says Ashley. They seem to appreciate the consistency and structure of their weekly ballet class.
“I set high expectations for them, and they rise to it,” said Ashley. She takes her curriculum from her Conservatory classes and adapts it to get in as much as possible in a shorter amount of time at her Metropolitan Ministries classes. 
Students from Metropolitan Ministries
outreach class at last year's showcase.

The kids come in their streetwear, no tights or leotards, and do the same floor barre and center work as in Ashley’s Conservatory classes. They work hard and are rewarded with  a game of freeze dance at the end of each class.

Her Metropolitan Ministries classes will be performing in a showcase on May 16 at noon in the TECO Theater.
For many of the kids, it will be their first trip to the Straz Center and a rare opportunity to be on stage.
“Keeping the same kids for three years and seeing them grow, and being a constant in their start building relationships with the kids. That’s what I enjoy most,” said Ashley.

When she's not giving 150% to the Patel Conservatory, Ashley spends time with her husband of five years, and has co-founded Versa Dance Company.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nominees for the second annual Spotlight Awards

The Patel Conservatory is proud to announce the student nominees for our second annual Spotlight Awards!
The Spotlight Awards recognize outstanding student achievement in a class or performance at the Patel Conservatory during the school year.
Congratulations to the following students who have been chosen by their respective departments for their effort, progress and success in dance, music or theater!
Theater Nominees
Mark Bensonoff
Cara Gutierrez
Alexa Lowrey
Lauren Lehner
Cole Shaler
Gabie Barnes
Davius Rosius
Mariana Roche
Katie Fitzsimmons
Music Nominees
Nicholas Roether
Gabie Barnes
Victoria Sewell
Tin Dinh
Katlyn Iacovino
Matthew Sichterman
Simone Seales
Michael Mortellaro
Javier Mendez
Steven Spoto
Dance Nominees
Gillian Bowen
Debbie Chen
Taylor Minich
Sara Crisman
Kamron Vazari
Braxton Perry
Brittany Perry
Kayla Marcus
Joseph Adams

Don't forget to recognize your favorite performer with an ad in our Spotlight Award commemorative program!

Purchase your tickets in advance and save!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Patel Conservatory celebrates National Dance Week

National Dance Week is April 20 - 29! Come celebrate and dance with the Patel Conservatory!

Gabrielle Beach
The week kicks off this Thursday evening with a sneak peek of Next Generation Ballet’s (NGB) upcoming New York performances! 
NGB students will perform their solos for next week’s Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) finals in New York City. In addition, NGB students will present a preview of an ensemble piece they’ll perform at the YAGP Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala at Lincoln Center on April 27.
We continue to celebrate National Dance Week as the Patel Conservatory in Tampa hosts free community dance classes on Sat., April 28, 2012.

Join us for free family fun and fitness!
The following classes are free and open to the public:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Theatrical Movement for Dancers, instructor Matt Belopavlolich
12:45 pm to 1:30 p.m.

Tap Dance Basics, instructor Susan Downey
1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Jazz Dance Basics, instructor Susan Downey
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Classes are open to anyone in grade two and up. Students under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No pre-registration necessary!

For more information, call 813-222-1002. For a full list of our summer dance classes, click here.

Support your performer with an ad in the Spotlight Awards program!

The Patel Conservatory’s Spotlight Awards are fast approaching, and so is the deadline for purchasing a dedication ad in the program!
Send your favorite student a personal message to congratulate him or her on a year of hard work and success in the performing arts!
The deadline for all program ads has been extended to April 27!
Business ads and personal dedication ads are accepted. You can create your own, or we’ll create one for you!
1/4 page ad       $50
1/2 page ad       $75
Purchasing an ad is easy!
To purchase an ad:
  1. Pick up a payment form in the library or TECO lobby, fill it out and submit it to the registrar in the library, or fax it to Sharon at 813-222-1037.
  2. Email your personal message and any photos or business logos to Sharon McDonald at (see payment form for photo guidelines)
All proceeds from the Spotlight Awards go directly to the Patel Conservatory’s classes and programs in dance, music and theater!
Support your performer and the Patel Conservatory!
For questions or more information, contact Sharon at 813-222-1037 or

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Students enjoy master classes with Come Fly Away cast

Julius Rubio with students from Orange Grove Middle School
As part of our outreach program, students from the Patel Conservatory and community partner Orange Grove Middle School for the Arts recently took part in contemporary dance workshops with artists from the musical, Come Fly Away.
Dancers from the show, Julius Rubio and Mallauri Esquibel, taught master classes to the advanced students and shared their own dance backgrounds.
Julius Rubio, who visited Orange Grove Middle, told the students how being at the dance studio was always where he felt at home. Julius began dancing when he was a teenager and experienced economic hardships while growing up. He always knew that he wanted to be a dancer and went on to dance in many companies and shows; most recently: Alvin Ailey II, Wonderland, and Come Fly Away
Mallauri Esquibel, who worked with Next Generation Ballet students, is a classically trained dancer who began dancing at the age of two. She’s performed in Wonderland, Come Fly Away, High School Musical 3 and the 2009 remake of Fame. Mallauri is also working on the upcoming reality show, Bunheads.

The students at the Patel Conservatory and Orange Grove Middle School for the Arts are thankful for the opportunity to have worked with these two exciting artists!

Mallauri Esquibel teaches a master class to NGB student

Friday, April 13, 2012

NGB dancers perform in YAGP Gala in New York City

As the 2011 winner of the Outstanding School Award at last year’s Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) finals, the Patel Conservatory’s NGB dancers will perform a group piece in the upcoming YAGP Gala at the David A. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City.
NGB dancer, Hannah Stanford
The annually sold-out YAGP Gala features performances from international ballet stars as well as the world’s brightest young dance talent.
“It is a tremendous opportunity for our Tampa dancers to be on one of the world's great stages alongside international ballet stars,” said Peter Stark, chair of the Patel Conservatory dance department and artistic director of Next Generation Ballet (NGB). "It is an honor to be part of the show, which is always reviewed by the New York Times."
The Gala has become synonymous with the discovery of new dancers, choreographers, and companies. NGB dancers will have the privilege of performing alongside the world's top professional dancers from international ballet companies.
At the Gala, which will be April 27, 2012, NGB dancers will perform Shostakovich Suite, choreographed by Richard Cook, and staged by Stark.
Next Thursday, April 19, they'll perform a sneak peek of the four-minute ensemble piece for local ballet supporters, staff and press. Dancers competing in the YAGP finals will also show off their competition solos at the preview, which will be at 6:30 p.m. in room 302 at the Patel Conservatory. There will be a meet and greet with the dancers following the performance.
Congratulations to the following dancers performing in the Gala:
Hannah Bettes
Sasha Alvarez
Gabrielle Beach
Alexandra Burman
Katherine Grones
Olivia Gusti
Emily Holt
Erica-Lynn Loper
Dara Nicole
Katarina Smith
Hannah Stanford
Emma Town
Marisa Whiteman
Mikhaila Whiteman
Jackson Kettell
Kemper Cassada
William Dugan
Calvin Farias
Landon Harris
Kamron Vaziri

NGB dancers compete in YAGP finals

Several of our Next Generation Ballet dancers will be representing the Patel Conservatory as they compete in the upcoming Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) competition in New York.

The prestigious competition, which will be April 22 - 26, 2012, is a chance for dancers to be seen by top ballet schools and professional dance companies for consideration for summer programs. Many of our students have received full scholarships from prestigious ballet schools through YAGP competitions.

Congratulations to the following students who qualified for the New York finals by placing in the top three in their divisions at regional competitions:
Hannah Bettes

Gabrielle Beach, Hannah Stanford, Katherine Grones, Kemper Cassada, Landon Harris, Olivia Gusti, William Dugan and Hannah Bettes.

In addition, these students are among those performing in a group piece at the YAGP Gala, an annual performance that takes place after the competition. Patel Conservatory was chosen to perform in the Gala as the winner of the Outstanding School Award at last year’s YAGP finals.

Don't miss these amazing dancers in Swan Lake at the Straz Center on May 12, 2012.

Kemper Cassada
Gabrielle Beach
Hannah Stanford

William Dugan
Katherine Grones

Olivia Gusti

Landon Harris

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What are the Spotlight Awards?

If you didn't make it to our Spotlight Awards last year, you may be wondering, What are the Spotlight Awards?
The Spotlight Awards is an event in May that's like the Patel Conservatory's own Oscar Night, complete with a red carpet!
To help you understand more about the event, we've put together this handy overview!
  • The Spotlight Awards is evening to celebrate the accomplishments of Patel Conservatory students.
  • The Spotlight Awards bring our dance, theater and music students together with parents and community members to celebrate the year, recognize outstanding students, pay tribute to our graduating seniors and honor our Community Partners. 
  • The Spotlight Awards is a fundraiser for the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory and education programs.
  • You can support the event through sponsorship or a parent dedication ad in the program!
  • At the Spotlight Awards, you are a celebrity! Celebrate all your year of accomplishments with a walk down the red carpet and pose for the paparazzi! 
  • The Spotlight Awards take place on Wed., May 23, 2012.
  • Dinner will be served by the Patel Conservatory Booster Club at 5 p.m. and the awards show will begin at 7 p.m. in Ferguson Hall.
  • Buy your tickets now before the price goes up! Tickets are $20 through May 9, 2012 and increase to $25 as of May 10, 2012.
  • For tickets, click here, or call 813.229.STAR (7827) or visit the Ticket Office.

Discounts available for Once Upon a Mattress, starts this weekend!

The Patel Conservatory Youth Theater production of Once Upon a Mattress starts this weekend in the TECO Theater.

This popular musical based on The Princess and the Pea is a fun, light-hearted comedy perfect for the whole family.

If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, there’s lots of ways to save!
Families can take advantage of our Family Four Pack for only $39 for two adults and two children (can not be combined with any other discount).
Students receive 50% off with their Patel Conservatory ID.
Also, play our Once Upon a Mattress trivia on our Facebook page, and you can be entered to win a $20 iTunes gift card!
Simply ‘like’ the Patel Conservatory on Facebook. Each day, we’ll post a trivia question about the show. Be the first to post the correct answer and you’ll be entered to win the iTunes gift card. Winner will be announced on Monday, April 23, 2012.
Once Upon a Mattress plays April 12 - 21, 2012. Click here for tickets or call our box office at 813-229-STAR (7827).

Friday, April 6, 2012

Summer theater placement auditions

If you are interested in our summer acting and musical theater camps and classes, please mark your calendar for our summer placement auditions.
Placement auditions for the Patel Conservatory summer theater intensives will be Saturday, June 2, 2012 from 12 to 4:30 p.m.
Placement auditions are for prospective students in grades three through college interested in participating in the following shows:
Patel Conservatory Youth Theater: Normal (June 11 - 30, 2012)
Experience a three-week intensive putting together a full-length rock musical that will challenge your theater, music, dance and critical thinking skills.
Auditions June 2, 12 to 2 p.m.
Grades 9 - college
Please prepare 16 bars of a rock song, and a one minute dramatic monologue. Dress ready to dance.
Patel Conservatory Youth Theater: Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Jr. (July 2 - 21, 2012)
Explore the beautiful story as told by Disney®. Intense dance, theater and music rehearsals culminate in a full production of this classic tale.
Auditions June 2, 1:15 to 3:30 p.m. 
Grades 3 - 8
Please prepare a 30 to 60-second monologue. Dress ready to dance.
Learn to comprehend and deliver Shakespearean text. A vigorous approach to one of the Bard's classic tales.
Auditions June 2, 2 to 3 p.m.
Grades 7 - college
Please prepare one sonnet or a one-minute Shakespearean monologue. Dress ready to move.
Theater Intensive: Aesop's Fables (July 30 - Aug. 10, 2012)
Study, adapt and perform a selected collection of Aesop’s Fables.
Auditions June 2, 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
Grades 5 - 8
Dress ready to move.
Please RSVP for your audition time by calling our theater department at 813-222-6414.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Join us for a weekend of rock!

It’s a weekend of rock at the Patel Conservatory!
Don’t miss two great shows this weekend featuring both new music and some classic rock tunes.
The original rock musical Caught! A Culinary Comedy of Confusion starts tonight in the Shimberg Playhouse. Written, composed and performed by advanced PCYT students, this comedy of mistaken identity is about twin brothers, employed by two feuding restaurants, who switch places in order for one to win the heart of the restaurant owner's daughter.
The show plays Thurs. through Sat., Apr. 5 - 7, 2012 at 7 p.m. For tickets, click here.
Also on Saturday, join us for one of our biggest Rock School Blowout concerts ever. With 14 bands and nearly 60 students, they’ll perform contemporary to classic rock favorites.
This is a free, outdoor concert on the Riverwalk at the Straz Center at 1 pm., Sat., Apr. 7, 2012.