Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wonderful turnout for Spotlight Awards

Last week’s Spotlight Awards were an amazing success!
We had more than 500 parents, students and faculty enjoy the pre-show dinner in Morsani Lobby, which was transformed for the event into a stunning dining area.

A full house in Morsani Lobby, with more than 500 people in attendance.
All enjoyed delicious eggplant, wings and ribs from Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, and pasta from Maestro’s at the Straz Center.
Anthony's staff get ready for the crowd.
Three cake tiers represented dance,
music and theater. Baked by one of
our parent volunteers.
The Patel Conservatory Booster Club provided a host of other goodies, from homebaked desserts and a chocolate fountain to the beautiful cake display.

After dinner, awards were presented to students for outstanding achievements in theater, music and dance, as well as to our volunteers and community partners.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, the Patel Conservatory reached its fundraising goal for the event. We know that next year will be even better!

As education vice-president Wendy Leigh pointed out at the Spotlight Awards, the Patel Conservatory is becoming a national model for bringing performing arts education to our community!

Thank you to all our sponsors, faculty, parents, students and volunteers for all that you do in helping our students to continue to dream, reach, discover and create in the performing arts!

A balloon drop to celebrate our graduating seniors.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blake video features partnership with Patel Conservatory

Outreach is a large part of the Patel Conservatory’s mission. We partner with nearly 30 organizations throughout Hillsborough County to bring performing arts experiences to as many students as possible.
One of those partnerships is with Blake High School, which was recently chosen to create a video for the Arts Schools Network, a non-profit professional association for arts schools educators.
Blake was one of only eight schools nationwide invited to submit a video for the website.
Produced by Blake students Jimmy Wills and Deven Jarvis, the video features the partnership between Blake and the Patel Conservatory. With interviews with Wendy Leigh and Peter Stark, and NGB dancers Sasha Alvarez and Jackson Kettell, the project is completed and online at Art Schools Network.
Thank you to Blake High School for including us in the project!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer production tackles teen angst

This summer, the Patel Conservatory Youth Theater takes on teen angst and some tough topics with its production of NOR·MAL, the Musical.

NOR·MAL: the Musical is about a teenage girl struggling with an eating disorder and her family’s initial crumble and eventual quest to discover what it is to be “normal.”

“Everyone who has grown up in America will connect with the members of this family and their plight to attain the elusive ranks of normal,” said Ami Sallee, Patel Conservatory theater department chair and director of the show.

NOR·MAL, the Musical is based on the experiences of Yvonne Adrian, who wrote the book. The rock musical premiered in New York City in 2005 and is now performed in high schools throughout the country.

The Patel Conservatory will be the first to produce the show in Florida.

The characters in this play are three-dimensional feeling human beings who are vulnerable and who make mistakes,” said Sallee.
The play touches on issues that everyone faces, she says. “Everyone goes a little crazy, everyone loses it a bit in this fantastically real family. And this script keeps enough humor and rock and roll to keep it moving and keep the audience invested.”

Each performance will be followed by an audience discussion with a panel of medical professionals.

NOR·MAL, the Musical will premier at the Shimberg Playhouse at the Straz Center on June 29 and 30, 2012. 

The show is a production of the Patel Conservatory’s summer musical theater intensive for high school and college students. The intensive theater training program will be June 11 - 30, 2012.

Our Summer Pit Orchestra will provide live accompaniment for the show.

Matthew Belopavlovich will be the assistant director, Deborah Lynch, music director, and choreographer is Shana Perkins.

Auditions for the show will be Saturday, June 2 starting at 12 p.m. To schedule an audition, please call the theater department at 813-222-6413 or email pateltheater@strazcenter.org.

For information on auditions for the Summer Pit Orchestra, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Praise for Swan Lake and NGB

Richard Sias brings 35 years of experience as a professional in the ballet world to his role as a Patel Conservatory dance instructor.
Richard Sias
“Since coming to the Patel Conservatory in the fall of 2010, the kids that I see now have totally changed their technique. Two years later, [Peter Stark] has brought these kids to a level of expertise on a professional standing,” said Sias.
Sias taught dance for 25 years at Florida State University, and spent six years at Canada's National Ballet School before coming to the Patel Conservatory. He currently teaches Next Generation Ballet (NGB) trainees and partnering classes. Having seen how far the students and the ballet program have come in under two years, Sias sees NGB, and its artistic director Peter Stark, as a cultural asset to the Tampa Bay community.
He said, “I like Peter’s vision of what he’s doing with Next Generation Ballet, training the students for a bigger arena, nationally and internationally...I think Tampa Bay is very fortunate to have him.”
After Saturday's sold-out performance of Swan Lake, Sias’ opinions were confirmed. Here’s what he had to say after the show.
From Richard Sias...
Saturday's Swan Lake performance spoke of how far Peter's vision for the Dance Program at Patel has progressed and developed...fine dancing and equally fine performances! I have always admired Ivonne's [Lemus, co-choreographer] integrity and love for her art and her gifts as a teacher- but for sure, Swan Lake speaks most highly of her sense as a professional, along with her deep commitment to the production's choreography...I believe this is only possible when an artist knows the ballet like her own skin, and in this instance it belongs to her because of her many years as a professional dancer...we are very fortunate to have her, I place her among the finest I know in the ballet art form. 
My admiration goes to all of you who were so committed to pulling this production off and obviously, what with the results from ticket sales - it worked!  
Congratulations to all.
Click here to read Carrie Seidman's review of Swan Lake in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Thank you to our sponsors

Next week is our second annual Spotlight Awards, and we couldn’t be more excited!

The event is sure to be a fun evening of dinner, awards and performances! Walk the red carpet and get your picture taken by the paparazzi...Enjoy performances from our Youth Orchestra, Next Generation Ballet dancers, musical theater students, Rock School and more! Come experience all that the Patel Conservatory offers our students and our community! Click here for tickets.

The Patel Conservatory and the Straz Center would like to express our gratitude to the following generous sponsors:

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Leonard and Elena Bensonoff
T.J. Couch and Elizabeth Somers
Lonni and Greg Kehoe
The Shimberg Family

Allegra Print and Imaging

We’d also like to thank the following businesses for their additional support:

SOHO Photography
Jimmy’s John’s
Queen of Sheeba
Eats American Grill
Sweet Tomatoes

You can make a donation towards the Spotlight Awards and show your support for our classes and programs at the Patel Conservatory. For sponsorship information, please contact Sharon McDonald at 813.222.1037 or Sharon.McDonald@strazcenter.org.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Free dance classes

The Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet (PCYB) in Tampa will host free dance classes on Sat., June 2, 2012.
These classes offer the opportunity for placement in our summer and fall dance classesPCYB is the official school of the award-winning pre-professional Next Generation Ballet.
Master classes are free, but pre-registration is required.
Intro. to Ballet
Pre-K3 - Kindergarten 
9 - 9:45 a.m.

Beginning Ballet
Grades 1 - 8            
10 - 11 a.m.
Elementary/Intermediate Ballet
Grades 4 - 12
11:30 - 1 p.m.            

(Grades listed refer to students’ grades in Fall, 2012)
Please RSVP by calling the dance office at 813-222-1263.

Summer theater auditions

There’s still time to sign up for camps and classes in music, theater and dance at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa!
Placement auditions for theater intensives are coming up soon!
Space is still available in numerous theater camps and classes for ages four through adult, from Intro to Performing Arts to our theater intensives.

Hone your acting and performance skills as you train with industry professionals. All summer theater programs culminate in a full-scale stage production! Some theater programs require a placement audition. Placement auditions are fun and welcoming, and help instructors assess skill levels and cast students in appropriate roles or classes. 
Summer Theater Placement Auditions
Saturday, June 2, 2012
12 to 4:30 p.m.

Students who wish to participate in the following shows should plan to attend:

Grades 9 through adult
Challenge yourself and receive training in music, theater and dance in this three-week intensive. Directed by award-winning actor and director, Ami Sallee.

Grades 3 - 8
Explore the beautiful story as told by Disney®. Intense dance, theater and music rehearsals culminate in a full production of this classic tale. Directed by award-winning actor Emilia Sargent.

Grades 7 - College
Study the art of Shakespeare and develop an appreciation for classical theater with instructor and Shakespeare Giles Davies.

Grades 5 - 8
Study, adapt and perform selections from this classic collection.

To schedule your audition, please call 813-222-6413.
For a full list of our summer theater camps and classes for all age levels, please click here.

Summer music auditions

As parents and students look forward to the end of the school year, it’s time to start thinking about summer!
There’s still time to sign up for camps and classes in music, theater and dance at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa!
Placement auditions will be held soon for many music camps and classes.
Auditions help instructors assess your skill level and place you in the appropriate classes.
Auditions for summer music programs:
Sat., May 19, 2012
2 to 4 p.m.
Grade 7- College
Learn how a pit orchestra works with a live show and be a member of the pit orchestra for the PCYT summer production of NORMAL, the Musical. Advanced players are needed on woodwinds, cello, guitar (electric and acoustic), bass (electric and acoustic) and drum set.
June 5, 6 and 7, 2012
5 to 8 p.m.
Grades 5-12
Learn new techniques on your instrument (guitar, bass, piano, drums, vocals), write new songs and perform rock classics in a concert at the end of this week-long summer rock experience! Bring your own instrument to audition (keyboards and drums are provided).

June 5, 6 and 7, 2012
5 to 8 p.m.
Grades 5 to adult
Weekly band sessions culminate in our Rock School Blowout concert at the end of the summer. Bring your own instruments to audition (keyboards and drums provided).
Tues., June 26, 2012
5 to 7 p.m.
Grades 7 - college
String, wind and percussion players will hone their performance skills with master teachers and conductors. Students will perform in a full orchestra and a variety of chamber music ensembles grouped by playing level and instrument.
Advanced voice students train with renowned artists and performers, and perform in a gala at the Straz Center. Audition online or by appointment, please click here for more information.

For more information about our music programs, or to schedule an audition, please call 813.222.1002 or email music@strazcenter.org.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spotlight on Giles Davies

As a resident company member of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for nine years, Giles Davies knows his Shakespeare.

When he speaks of the master of poetry, his passion is clear.

Davies in Richard III at Cincinnati
Shakespeare Company
“With poetic language, Shakespeare elicits a mental image that stirs the soul. His pen is a paintbrush that paints images,” said Davies.

And when Davies says that in his fabulously Shakespearean English accent, it sounds quite lovely and would make anyone want to recite a sonnet.

As the guest director and instructor for our PCYT summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Davies brings his breadth of knowledge and understanding of Shakespeare to our Conservatory theater students.
“I think it’s fantastic that the Patel Conservatory is doing classical text, and bringing it to younger audiences,” said Davies.
Davies was raised in Hong Kong to British parents who had a love of community theater. He began performing when he was five years old. He received his M.F.A. from Ohio State University, and has traveled and performed around the world. He's studied with such icons as Marcel Marceau, and Anne Bogart who founded the SITI Company.
A consummate artist constantly on the prowl for life experiences that will enrich him as both a person and an actor, Davies often finds himself performing wherever he goes, “that can range from performing in a bar or a campsite, to a hostel or a high school, or a theater company,” he says.
Since moving to Tampa three years ago, he’s performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at freeFall Theatre, Quills at Jobsite Theater and Death and the Maiden with Simple Theatre, to name a few.

In Creative Loafing, Mark Lieb says, "he's established himself as a performer not to be missed...He's that good. He's that surprising."
Davies feels Shakespeare is a dying art, and enjoys helping students find beauty in the often difficult text, even if that means comparing the Bard to hip hop to get their attention.
“It’s the rhythm of the delivery of the text that’s part of the artistry of it. The rhythm, delivery and sound of the words themselves adds to the attraction of the language...and elicit a visceral response,” said Davies.
While with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Davies helped start the Groundlings high school acting program at the theater. The program quickly flourished and the Groundlings Jr. for middle school students was soon added.
This summer’s Patel Conservatory production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed as the culmination of a two-week theater intensive for grades seven through college. Davies will also teach a beginning adult acting class.
“Shakespeare is practically a foreign language for most modern students,” said Davies.
Through various techniques, he hopes “to translate Shakespeare in a way that will illuminate the plot, and...unlock the jewels within.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream theater intensive will be July 16 - 27, 2012. For more information, click here.
For information about more summer theater intensives at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa, click here

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NGB ready for Swan Lake

This weekend, Next Generation Ballet’s award-winning dancers are joined by guest artists Eddy Tovar and Sara Sardelli, soloist for the Sarasota Ballet, for the classical ballet Swan Lake.
Don’t miss Hannah Bettes as she performs in her most challenging role yet with NGB before moving on to study at the Royal Ballet in the fall.
“I’m so excited for Swan Lake,” said Bettes. “This is my first full-length ballet, so I’m on stage a lot more.”
Bettes won the 2012 Prix de Lausanne "audience choice" award in February, and she won the Gold Medal in the senior women’s division at the YAGP final competition in New York in April.
Despite her competition prowess, playing the lead in a full-length ballet is a very demanding role.
In Swan Lake, Bettes dances the roles of both the white and black swan. She’s had to learn not only extensive and technically difficult choreography, but also the stylistic nuances of the characters.
“It’s a very tough role even for professional dancers,” said Tovar before a recent rehearsal with Bettes. “She has to change her personality and be intense.”
Tovar was a principal with Texas Ballet Theatre and Orlando Ballet. He was featured on So You Think You Can Dance with Los Angeles Ballet in George Balanchine’s Who Care’s?
Eddy Tovar with Sara Sardelli
In Swan Lake, Tovar dances the role of Prince Siegfried. Though he’s danced the role with Orlando Ballet, he’s had just two weeks to learn the choreography for NGB’s production.
“Every production has slightly different choreography,” he said. Rehearsing with NGB dancers at the Patel Conservatory has been a gratifying experience for him.
“I can see the talent of the students. They are ready...they look like professionals,” he said.
Choreographed by Peter Stark and Ivonne Lemus after the original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, this two-act world premier features marvelous sets and costumes.
With a hauntingly beautiful score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, this classic story of princesses turned into swans has moved audiences for more than 100 years.
With just two shows on Saturday, the event is sure to sell out. Click here for tickets, before it's too late!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Summer acting classes for adults

This summer, theater pros and beginning actors alike can sharpen their skills in a fun, creative environment with our adult acting classes.
Taught by professionals in the industry, the Patel Conservatory in Tampa offers acting classes designed to accommodate your busy lifestyle.
Adult Acting
Kerry Glamsch
Theater instructor Kerry Glamsch returns this summer to teach the adult acting class on Tuesday nights. The class will focus on Meisner technique, which includes repetition exercises, vocal warm ups, and basic script analysis to help develop truthfulness in acting.
“The class has a wide variety of students, with diverse backgrounds and experience levels,” said Glamsch.
Glamsch directed our youth theater’s successful production of Our Town last summer, and this past year’s adult acting class. He also teaches acting classes at the University of Tampa, and script analysis at the University of South Florida.
“The adult acting class is geared toward any level actor,” said Glamsch. “Each person operates on their own level and has the opportunity to explore their creativity in a safe environment.”
On-Camera Acting
Eugenie Bondurant
Eugenie Bondurant also explores Meisner technique this summer as it applies to performing in front of the camera in the On-Camera acting class on Thursdays. The class focuses on improvisation and character development.
Bondurant has been teaching our On-Camera classes since the Conservatory opened six years ago. This summer, she’s also teaching the youth camp How to Make a Short Film.
Beginning Adult Acting
Veteran Shakespearean actor Giles Davies brings his vast knowledge of the stage to the beginning adult acting class on Wednesdays.
Davies will introduce classic theater exercises to help beginning students learn various acting techniques.
Davies will also be directing our youth theater summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Stand-up Comedy
ranney helps get you in touch
with your inner comedian!
Get in touch with your funny bone with our stand-up comedy class for adults. Actors and performers, this is a great way to hone your comedic skills and delivery.
Popular comedian Ranney Lawrence, "ranney," will guide students through a series of improvisation and writing exercises that will help develop their own unique style of comedy. Participants will have the opportunity to craft their own personal comedic routines.
For more information about our classes for adults, including in dance, music and theater, please visit our website at patelconservatory.org or call 813-222-1002.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Theater students perform at Joshua House fundraiser

By Audrey Siegler, Patel Conservatory Theater Instructor
Some Patel Conservatory theater students had a great time in Neverland last weekend.

In February, the Conservatory was approached to provide entertainment for the Friends of Joshua House Fundraiser held on Saturday, April 28th at the Bale’s Mansion in Davis Island, once owned by the Steinbrenner family. The fundraiser committee was interested in having several students provide ambiance and help create the mood for their Neverland themed event. I have always been an advocate for the work that Joshua House does, so I thought this would be a great opportunity for our students to get involved to support a great cause. With some help from Tina James, our education programs coordinator, and theater faculty Ami Sallee and Matt Belovpavlovich, we began to work towards this goal.

After finalizing the details and visiting the home, Matt and I reached out to some of our most well-rounded students with this unique performance opportunity. The response was amazing! Everyone jumped at the opportunity! Who wouldn’t want to dress up in a Neverland character and play for an evening at a mansion?
Twenty-one students were selected and met for one rehearsal where they were fitted for their lost boy/girl costumes and worked in small groups of mixed age levels to create appropriate structured improvs. With a little coaching from Matt and I, and a lot of support from each other, the students created great bits of entertainment for the event.

The night of the event started off a little rainy, but soon cleared up. The kids had a blast and the guests really enjoyed their presence.