Thursday, November 29, 2012

Auditions for spring Rock School program

The Patel Conservatory in downtown Tampa will host placement auditions for its spring Rock School program.

Rock School Auditions
Sat., Jan. 12, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Patel Conservatory, Tampa

Come find your inner rocker! Learn new music on your instrument, songwriting and vocal techniques.

Female rockers and vocalists welcome! No experience necessary.

Students in our Rock School program are placed in a band according to age and skill level. Bands rehearse weekly and the program culminates in our Rock School Blowout concert open to the public.

You can also learn music reading, terminology and notation in Fundamentals of Music. This class is free and open to students enrolled in any class at the Patel Conservatory.

Academic credit may be available for classes taken at the Conservatory. Prior approval from your school is required.

For the audition, bring your guitar, bass or drumsticks (drum set, amps and keyboards provided). Requires a $15 audition fee.

To schedule your audition, or for more information, please e-mail or call 813.222.1002.

Free Rock School workshop

Dean Tidey, Rock School instructor and guitarist for Muddy Apes
Ever thought about being in a band?

Join us at the Patel Conservatory for a FREE Rock School workshop!

Rock School Workshop
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013
1 p.m. in the TECO Theater 
1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, downtown Tampa

The Conservatory’s Rock School program brings students together to form bands according to age and skill level.

At the workshop, Rock School instructors Dean Tidey and Paul Stoddart, along with current Rock School students, will demonstrate some skills and thrills of being in a band. It's your backstage pass to hang out and talk shop with the guys who've been there, done that.

Workshop participants in grade four through adult are invited to bring a guitar, bass or drum sticks for tips and demonstrations from presenters (drum set, amps and keyboards provided). Vocal coach Deborah Lynch will assist with vocal instruction.

You'll learn more about the Patel Conservatory’s popular Rock School program, and how you, too, can get on stage!

Tidey writes, produces and plays guitar for Muddy Apes. Previously, Tidey played guitar for a dozen years in the acclaimed English rock band, Feeder, a band that opened for U2, REM and the Rolling Stones, among notable bands. 

Stoddart has taught guitar and music theory/arrangement/songwriting for more than two decades. He graduated cum laude from the Berklee School of Music in 1989 with a major in Songwriting, and has played in, written for and arranged music for several bands around the country. He still plays throughout the Tampa Bay area with his four piece ensemble.

Lynch served as a music director, accompanist, vocal coach and performer in Richmond, Virginia before moving to Tampa and joining the Patel Conservatory as accompanist last year. Among many other things, she has taught high school chorus, was a soloist for The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in their masterworks concerts with the Richmond Symphony, and has assisted with District Chorus festivals.

Workshop participants are invited to audition for the spring Rock School session, which begins January 15. Rock School bands rehearse weekly and participate in our Rock School Blowout concert. No prior experience is necessary.

For more information on our Rock School auditions, click here.

Our accomplished Rock School teachers are ready to get you rocking!

The workshop is free, but RSVP is required. To reserve your spot, please email or call 813-222-6411.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wonderland actor makes top eight on X Factor

Carly Rose Sonenclar has made it another week on the popular television show X Factor.

The thirteen-year-old from Mamaroneck, NY played Chloe in the Straz Center’s production of Wonderland  last year.

Last week, her rendition of “Over the Rainbow” got rave reviews from the judges and earned her the top spot in the popular singing competition. She is now among the final eight contestants.

The X Factor airs on Fox television on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Viewers call in and vote for their favorite performer on Wednesdays. For info on how to vote, click here.

Congratulations and good luck to Carly as she competes to be the next winner of X Factor!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Patel Conservatory faculty and staff perform in Pure Imagination

Patel Conservatory faculty and staff in the 2012 Spotlight Awards.
Come see some of our fabulous instructors perform in the upcoming productions of Pure Imagination!

Presented by the Patel Conservatory’s Faculty Artist Collective, Pure Imagination is a weekend of shows featuring a variety of performances from Patel Conservatory faculty and staff.

Each show will focus on the theme Pure Imagination.
Eugenie Bondurant, right, with Paul Wilborn, in the
American Songbook series.

Fri., Dec. 7, 2012
8:30 p.m.
Paul Wilborn and the Blue Roses American Songbook Series: Pure Imagination
This cabaret show features the songs, stars and stories of Paris in the 1920's, as performed by Patel Conservatory theater instructor Eugenie Bondurant. Accompaniment by Paul Wilborn on piano and vocals, and Frank Bowman on horns and woodwinds.
Enjoy the songs of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, and more.
This show sold out three nights at American Stage in St. Petersburg.

Sat., Dec. 8, 2012
8 p.m.
Some Sort of Show presents: Pure Imagination.
Past and present Patel Conservatory theater faculty reprise their performances from the past four seasons of Tampa’s original sketch comedy series, Some Sort of Show. Performers include Jack Holloway, Jonathan Cho, Christopher Rutherford, Jaime Giangrande-Holcom, Emily Belvo and Ami Sallee.

Sun., Dec. 9, 2012
2 p.m.
Patel Conservatory Faculty Cabaret: Pure Imagination
A variety show featuring current Patel Conservatory faculty from our dance, theater and music departments. Performances from the musical theater, classical, tap and hip-hop worlds combine to fill an afternoon of pure imagination. Featuring hip hop instructor Marcus Borders, theater department chair Ami Sallee, dance instructor Karyn DeLoach, theater instructor Audrey Siegler, theater instructor Adam Wagner and music instructor Kavanaugh Gillespie.
For tickets, click here.

Ballet's Greatest Hits, featuring Antonio Douthit and Alicia Graf Mack

Ballet's Greatest Hits! will feature prominent dancers from the world’s most well known companies.

Presented by Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) and the Straz Center, this unique production is one you don’t want to miss!

Jan. 5, 2013
at the Straz Center, Tampa

Today’s featured performers of the upcoming show are Antonio Douthit and Alicia Graf Mack of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

Photo from
Antonio Douthit, of S. Louis, Mo., began his dance training at age 16 at the Center of Contemporary Arts under the direction of Lee Nolting, and at the Alexandra School of Ballet. He also trained at North Carolina School of the Arts, the Joffrey Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet and the Dance Theatre of Harlem School.
He became a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1999 and appeared in featured roles in the ballets South African Suite, Dougla, Concerto in F, Return and Dwight Rhoden’s Twist. He was promoted to soloist in 2003. He also performed with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal.
He joined the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in 2004.

Alicia Graf Mack trained at the Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland under Donna Pidel, and attended summer intensives at the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
She was a principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem and a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 2005 to 2008.
In addition to several galas and festivals, she has been a guest performer with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet and with André 3000 and Beyoncé at Radio City Music Hall. She is the recipient of the Columbia University Medal of Excellence and Smithsonian Magazine’s Young Innovator Award.
Mack graduated magna cum laude with honors in history from Columbia University and received an M.A. in nonprofit management from Washington University in St. Louis.
Most recently, she served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Webster University in St. Louis.
She rejoined Alvin Ailey in 2011.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Great gifts ideas from the Straz Center and Patel Conservatory

As you embark on your holiday shopping, don’t forget a gift for your favorite performer!

Here’s some great gift ideas from the Straz Center and Patel Conservatory.

Tickets to The Nutcracker, the Great Imperial Ballet - A perfect gift for the entire family. Enjoy this classic holiday tradition together.

Tickets to Ballet’s Greatest Hits - Whether you have a dancer in your family or not, this one time only event is sure to excite! It’s a night of incredible performances from the world’s top dancers from such companies as American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and many more!

Dance Class Card - A great option for the dance lover in your family! A 5-class or 10-class card lets dancers try a variety of our dance classes. Class cards are good for the entire spring session, so dancers can come when they can!

Private lessons - When they open that shiny new instrument on Christmas, make sure they get some lessons to go with it! The Patel Conservatory offers private lessons in guitar, piano, violin, voice and more!

Rock School - Make their dreams a reality! With our Rock School program, students of any age can find their inner rock star. All participants get to perform on stage in our Rock School Blowout concert.

Reel Deal Card - Lights, camera, action! Our Reel Deal cards are good for our Saturday afternoon on-camera acting classes.

Gift Card - Give the gift of the performing arts and let them choose what they want. Straz Center gift cards are good for shows at the Straz, or classes or lessons at the Patel Conservatory. To purchase gift cards, call the Straz Center Box Office at 813-229-7827.

With more than 100 classes in dance, theater and music for all ages and skill levels, you're sure to find that perfect something for anyone who loves the arts. For more information on classes and lessons, please call 813-222-1002, or visit

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dance Workshops feature two days of dance classes!

The Patel Conservatory announces two days of dance workshops on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16, 2012.

The Conservatory offers an array of dance classes for students of all ages and abilities. The upcoming workshops will give participants the opportunity to try several classes in one fun weekend.

Patel Conservatory Dance Workshops
Sat., Dec. 15 from 2:30 to 6 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 16 from 1:30 to 5 p.m.
at the Patel Conservatory
at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa
1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa, FL 33602

The two-day workshop will include classes in contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap and hip-hop.

Led by professional Patel Conservatory instructors, the classes are open to beginners as well as experienced dancers from grade four through adults.

Our dance classes allow you to progress at your own pace in a nurturing environment. If you enjoy your workshop experience, you can sign up for one class, or take various classes with the flexibility of a dance class card.

The cost is $30 per day, or $50 for both days. College students receive a 50% discount.

All participants receive a complimentary ticket to An Evening of Dance on Saturday evening, as well as a complimentary pre-show pizza social.

An Evening of Dance will feature dancers from various dance classes at the Patel Conservatory.

Come dance, and enjoy dinner and a show on us!

Reserve your spot now! Register online or by phone.

To register over the phone, please call 813-222-1002.

To register online, click on one of the links below:

For additional information, please call 813-222-1002.

Meet the cast: Kiss Me, Kate!

Kiss Me, Kate continues this weekend, with performances tonight, Friday and Saturday!

Don't miss the classical comedy that'll have you singing and dancing!

Get to know some of the cast and what they love about the show:

Christen Hailey, with Roxxi Jaxx
Christen Hailey, 37, of Seminole Heights

Role: Ensemble/chorus

What is exciting to you about the show? 
Working with people of all ages

How long have you been a part of the Patel Conservatory?
A long time.

Why did you decide to study the performing arts?
I was very interested in theater history.

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?
Well, I’ve been working at the Straz for more than 10 years.

What do you think is interesting about yourself?
I am beginning my yoga teacher training and I’m a very good cook. 

Julia Rudgers, 20, of Dunedin

Role: Ensemble, featured soloist

What is exciting to you about the show? 
I love the fact that it is a show within a show; I love the music and the dance numbers.

Other classes taken at the conservatory
Senior Choir, Fundamentals of Music and Jazz dance.

Why did you decide to study the performing arts?
I want to be a professional actor.

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?
It has allowed me to broaden my knowledge of my profession and have access to resources I did not before.

What do you think is interesting about yourself?
I have a photographic memory, and I want to be challenged to push myself so I can learn.


Roxxi Jaxx, 17, of Tampa
University of Tampa

Role: Ralph

What is exciting to you about the show? 
That I play a man!

Why did you decide to study the performing arts?
I’ve been doing theater since I was three years old.

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?
It is my escape.

What do you think is interesting about yourself?
I really enjoy fashion, and I am a costume assistant at UT.

Johnny Garde, of Temple Terrace
University of South Florida

Role: Man/Gangster #1

What is exciting to you about the show? 
The opportunity to work with so many different people of all ages!

Other classes taken at the conservatory
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

How long have you been a part of the Patel Conservatory?
Since the summer

Why did you decide to study the performing arts?
I fell in love with it at a young age and just haven’t stopped.

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?
Getting paid to act is probably the most amazing feeling in the world.

What do you think is interesting about yourself?
I actually haven’t done a musical since high school, so this is fun. I also work in the theater office, so I basically live here (at the Patel Conservatory)!

I’m very excited to be part of the Patel Conservatory family.

Field trip show gets kids thinking about bullying

Last week, students from two local elementary schools laughed and looked in awe as Tony Brent made a ball disappear right from a student’s hand.

Brent got the kids’ attention by performing card tricks and making things appear and disappear. But more important than his magic was his message.

With Brent’s one-man show PIP-Squeak, part of our field trip performance series, he spoke to kids about bullying.

“I try to get them thinking about what they would do in a bullying situation,” said Brent before the show.

Using comedy, magic and role-playing, he engaged the students and tried to help them understand how their words and actions can affect others.

In one such gesture, he asked a student volunteer to crumple up a piece of paper. And after it’s scrunched and wrinkled and tattered, he asked the student to apologize to it. Despite the student’s apology and attempt to flatten the paper back to its original state, the paper clearly was different, damaged.

“I’m trying to leave them with a mental picture about bullying. I try to be funny in it, but still have the message in there...Hopefully the visual will stick with them longer," he said.

Brent and Next Generation Ballet dancer William Dugan were interviewed by local news stations. They spoke about how important it is for parents to talk to their kids about bullying and for students to get help and reach out to a parent or counselor if they feel like they’re being bullied.

For the upcoming field trip performance schedule, please click here. Make a day of it by adding a workshop and tour with our Day at the Straz.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spotlight on Pat Adams

Pat Adams, second from left, plays Father Silberhaus in
The Nutcracker

Dance has always been a part of Pat Adams’ life.

“My mother was a tap dancer and a tap dance teacher...she used to teach me and my sisters in our house when I was a kid,” said Pat.

The 73-year-old retired psychotherapist has been taking tap classes at the Patel Conservatory for about five years.

For the third year in a row, he’ll also play the role of Father Silberhaus in The Nutcracker  at the Straz Center next month.

Having grown up dancing, he always enjoyed various types of dance. Throughout the years, he and his wife have taken ballroom lessons, square dancing and folk dancing.

When his mom took up clogging in her retirement years, Pat joined her. They clogged together for about 15 years until his mom died at age 88.

“After my mother died, I didn’t tap or clog for quite a while. My wife thought that I should get involved with some kind of group,” said Pat.

That’s when he found the tap classes at the Patel Conservatory. 

“I just find it (the Conservatory) a very dynamic place. The faculty are very dedicated, very professional and enthusiastic,” he said. Tap instructor Susan Downey “challenges us with new stuff all the time. She acts like she’s getting me ready for Broadway...she pushes you.”

A wonderful aspect of being involved at the Conservatory is working with all types of people, from adults of all ages in his tap classes, to the talented Next Generation Ballet dancers in the cast of The Nutcracker.

“I enjoy performing, and I’m just amazed at these Next Generation Ballet dancers. These young dancers are just incredible. I enjoy being involved with (the show) and bringing it together as a’s exciting to be around all that energy and ability and talent.”

Dance has helped Pat stay young in mind, body and spirit.

“I like the feel of dancing, of moving to music. It’s good to keep your brain and body trying new things,” he said. “It keeps you alive and in the world.”

The Nutcracker will run Dec. 22 and 23, 2012 at the Straz Center.

Pat will also perform along with dancers from several Patel Conservatory dance classes in An Evening of Dance on Dec. 15, 2012 in the TECO Theater.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Meet the cast: Kiss Me, Kate

Congratulations to the wonderful cast of Kiss Me, Kate for a great show over the weekend. If you didn't get a chance to see it, don't fret, you have four more chances this weekend!

Kiss Me, Kate runs through Nov. 17, 2013. Click here for tickets.

Get to know some of our cast and how the performing arts has touched their lives.

Rodner Salgado
Rodner Salgado, 23, North Tampa
graduate of the University of Tampa

Role: Bill Calhoun

What is exciting to you about the show? 
All the dancing.

Other classes taken at the conservatory
Tap and Hip Hop

How long have you been a part of the Patel Conservatory?
One year

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?
It has taught me about myself and the world.

The Patel Conservatory has opened many doors for me since I began as an intern over the summer, 2012. Since then, I have been in a staged reading of A Midsummer Nights Dream and currently in the outstanding production of Kiss Me, Kate. I love the Patel Conservatory because it's a creative and safe environment where kids of all ages learn to express and communicate through the art of performance.

Brad Roberts, 18, of Palm Harbor
University of Tampa

Role: Harry/Baptista

What is exciting to you about the show? 
The show within a show aspect!

Other classes taken at the conservatory
Musical theater classes.

How long have you been a part of the Patel Conservatory?
Three years

Why did you decide to study the performing arts?
It’s been my passion since I was little!

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?

What do you think is interesting about yourself?
I have perfect pitch. I was adopted at three months. And I’ve performed in a national tour.

Other comments
I have made so many friends through this show. I didn't know much about the play itself when I first went into the production, but it is by far one of the most energetic and fun shows that I have ever been a part of!

Bernard McNicol, 21, of Tampa
University of Tampa

Role: Ensemble

What is exciting to you about the show? 
First Cole Porter musical! (and Kristen getting spanked)

Why did you decide to study the performing arts?
I haven’t found anything else as satisfying

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?
It’s helped me identify myself as an individual.

What do you think is interesting about yourself?
I try to connect with as many people as I can.

Emily Schultz
Emily Schultz, 13, of Harbour Island

Role: Ensemble, dance trio

What is exciting to you about the show? 
The music is so much fun and I love to sing, dance and act. Also the cast and crew are fun to work with.

Other classes taken at the conservatory
Ballet, Contemporary, Tap and Theater

How long have you been a part of the Patel Conservatory?
One year

Why did you decide to study the performing arts?
I love to perform.

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?
I have been given the role of Clara in The Nutcracker because I can act.

What do you think is interesting about yourself?
I skipped 7th grade...and I have read Harry Potter at least nine times.