Friday, February 27, 2015

Three times the cuteness in Winnie the Pooh Kids!

Antony, Gian and Stefan
Like little ducklings, the Simonetti boys file in to the Patel Conservatory every week, either with their little guitar cases slung over their shoulders, or ready to sing and dance. The 7-year-old triplets, Antony, Gian and Stefan, have been coming to the Conservatory for two years. They started with guitar lessons, and later added musical theater.

This weekend, the boys make their stage debut in Patel Conservatory Theater’s Winnie the Pooh Kids.

“They’re very excited about it,” said mom Sherri Simonetti.

The boys have watched the show on TV for years, they have Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals on their beds, and even have had breakfast with their favorite Pooh characters during their trip to Disney World.

Now they get to help bring one of their favorite Disney shows to life as they play a family of possums in the Hundred Acre Wood.

“The songs are my most favorite part about being on stage,” said Gian.

As part of a cast of more than 30 second through fourth graders, Gian, Antony and Stefan are learning more than the songs and choreography.

“They can carry a tune, they have good voices, but I also want them to build confidence, and getting on stage by yourself is a pretty brave thing to do when you’re seven years old,” said Sherri.

Whether practicing guitar or singing in a show, Sherri sees the boys building lifelong skills through the arts.

“There’s a balance in life between intellect and art and one feeds the other,” she said. “Music is feeds different parts of the brain and different parts of the soul. It makes for a more well-rounded person.”

But as far as the boys are concerned, they’re just having fun.

“We like to do musical theater, music, acting...because it’s fun,” said Antony.

Check out the three possums and their furry friends in Winnie the Pooh Kids, Feb. 26 through Mar. 1, 2015 at the Patel Conservatory.

For tickets or more info, click here.

Join us for Camp-A-Palooza 2015!

Ready for some summer fun? Join us for free food, fun and prizes at the Patel Conservatory’s Camp-A-Palooza!

Patel Conservatory's
Sat., Mar. 21, 2015
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bring your friends and come hang out with us on Tampa’s beautiful Riverwalk and learn how you can become a part of one of the largest performing arts centers in the country!

Enjoy live music from our Rock School bands and performances from our Barbershop quartet, award-winning dance Show Team and a preview from Fiddler on the Roof.

Then, join in on the fun with free interactive demonstrations. Let the kids make some noise with our percussion demo, and instrumental demos from Sam Ash Music, get some free vocal tips, try your hand at Improv, and sing along to Aladdin's A Whole New World.

Description: Description: Description: scriptlogo2It's your opportunity to tour the Conservatory, check out our theater and studios, meet staff and ask questions.

There'll be free face painting and a chance to win a family 4-pack to the Broadway production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and other shows.

The Patel Conservatory offers a variety of  summer camps and classes in dance, theater and music, for preschoolers to adults.  

Learn how your kids can perform on stage in Shrek the Musical or Disney’s Aladdin, Jr.! From Mini Musical Theater camps to pre-professional training, there’s something for everyone.
New camps this year include our Popular Dance Intensive, led by award-winning choreographer Kelly King, and our instrumental camps including Jazz Intensive, Chamber Music and Vocal Intensives and Drumline.

Extended camps hours are now available before and after most camps.

Enjoy samples from PDQ, EVOS, our summer camp lunch partner, cotton candy, and more.

Register early and save! Register for summer camps or classes by Mar. 28, 2015 and receive 10% off!*

For more information, call 813-222-1002 or visit

Don't miss the fun! See you at Camp-A-Palooza!

*Discount not available for Next Generation Ballet Intensives.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Broadway revival of The King and I features former student Jon Viktor Corpuz

Congratulations to Patel Conservatory theater alumnus Jon Viktor Corpuz who landed a lead role in the Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King & I.

Directed by Tony-award winning Bartlett Sher, and starring five-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O'Hara and Academy Award nominee Ken Watanabe, the show opens next month at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York City. Corpuz plays Prince Chulalongkorn, the eldest son of the King and heir to the throne.

Corpuz, 18, developed a love for the theater right here at the Conservatory as a student in our summer program. He is currently a professional actor in New York City and attends the Professional Performing Arts School. He was recently accepted on full scholarship to NYU’s Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music.

Check out this Q and A with Corpuz as he chats about his time as a student here, being a lifelong learner and what it's like to be on Broadway!

Follow Jon on Twitter @jonviktorcorpuz.

Where are you from, and when did you study at the Patel Conservatory?
Born in Tampa, Fla. I studied acting and theater at Patel from ages 8 to10, around 2005-2007.

What classes did you take at the Conservatory?
A beginner on-camera acting class, a beginner musical theater class, and three productions. Humble beginnings!

What did you enjoy about taking classes at the Conservatory?
Patel is where the theater/performing bug concretely hit me. I grew up a shy child and Patel kind of thrust me out of my shell and helped me face my fears head on. At Patel, I was bewilderingly single-cast as the lead in the first musical I had ever been a part of (which was original material) in a cast of over 100 kids! The show was in Ferguson Hall. Pretty cool.

What are some favorite memories from your time there?
The memory that sticks out most to me was definitely landing the lead (Jacob) in the Community Arts Ensemble original musical, Animalopolis - which also happened to be my first-ever time performing in a musical. I really was not expecting getting that role in the SLIGHTEST. I remember crying at home to my parents after auditions thinking I wouldn't even be cast, much less land the lead.

I had joined the production late in the process and was competing against over 100 other kids. I was really not expecting it. But, I got it, and that experience was a transformative one for me. I think it was the first time I realized I could actually take this "performing thing" seriously and pursue it. What was crazy was the fact that it was full-length, full-on original material which was being tailored to the actors! In hindsight, I realize this is such a rarity at eight years old...The orchestra was all students, and my sister played the other lead. Pretty magical. Aside from that, I just remember having so much fun at Patel and making lots of childhood friends. Definitely some cool memories.

How has studying the performing arts been beneficial to you?
Studying performing has helped me not only develop a good skillset/foundation to become successful professionally, but it has also helped me just in life in general.
In theater, acting, music, you're constantly collaborating with others from all walks of life, which is such an invaluable skill to learn early on. You're constantly listening to others' ideas, which may be different from your own, and working with all types of people, but at the end of the day you're all creating something together. You never stop learning in life and you're always constantly growing and evolving. My experiences at Patel, among others, helped to lay the foundation for me to become and continue to be an avid learner.

Do you have any advice for students who want to study the performing arts?
Work hard, be you, be bold, and never let anyone tell you that you aren't capable of achieving something. If you really, truly love what you're doing, don't listen to the naysayers: they'll be coming out of the woodworks to congratulate you when you're successful in the future. I know that firsthand. Keep going, never stop. Do it for you above anything else! (This is as much a mantra for me as advice to anyone else.)
Always continue learning, always be inspired and do the work!

Any other comments?
Patel is more or less where it all started for me. Such a safe haven to let me express myself as an artsy and imaginative little boy. Don't know where I'd be today without those critical early experiences.

As for what it's like to be a lead in a Broadway show... 
It's awesome! As I said, I'm always learning, and this is, of course, no exception. Everyone here is so on top of their game and are all such intelligent, kind, and gracious human beings...I know it's very much an honor to be here, so I'm very aware of that always and am just trying to learn as much as I can.

There's also a ton of pressure because it's my Broadway debut, but also, I don't think this role has ever been interpreted in the way we're seeing my character in this particular production. Chulalongkorn was very influential and really a revolutionary in real-life-Siam. In this production, we're seeing him at the cusp of adulthood and on the verge of kingship, on top of having his world turned upside-down by Western cultures and philosophies and coming into his own as a person and developing his own morals. So it's a lot! Our director, Bart, has been so helpful, though, and has really helped me unearth and humanize this person.

A lot of what goes into a revival of a well-known, well-revived musical is "Why now?" I feel like this story is so timely with everything that's happening in the world today. The clashes of cultures, countries, religions - this story really speaks to that and examines the push and pull of those relationships.

I'm very honored and excited and am just learning from everyone around me everyday!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

PCPD Show Team takes 1st in Contemporary at DANCEAMERICA competition

"The joy is in the work." - Kelly King
Congratulations again to the Patel Conservatory’s contemporary Show Team for another great competition weekend!

The group took 1st place in Contemporary, and 3rd place overall for the Intermediate Senior Groups division at the DANCEAMERICA competition on Saturday.

From left, Alex Correa, Parker Espada, Daryn Diaz, Gabriela Miller, Lauren
Camila Daniel, Kathryn Gutierrez, Shayna Goodman, Kristina Biglete,Madison Pontanus, Miriam Spada, Alexis Diamond. In front, Liam Boswell.
Their top score qualified them for the 2015 DANCEAMERICA National Finals in Chicago in July.

“The camaraderie among the kids was so strong, they were really rooting for each other, and it was heartfelt,” said Conservatory parent Tammy Correa, whose son Alex Correa participated. “This was a wonderful opportunity for them.”

Congratulations also goes to Liam Boswell for being recognized with the Dance Power award at the competition.

Several Conservatory dancers were also recognized as top performers in the master classes held in conjunction with the competition:

Senior Division (14 and up):
Tap: Alex Correa
Ballet: Kathryn Gutierrez 
Modern: Liam Boswell
Hip Hop: Alexis Diamond

Junior Division (13 and under)
Modern: Daryn Diaz
Jazz: Lauren Townsend
Lyrical: Parker Espada
Musical Theatre: Madison Potantus and Gabriela Miller

As part of the competition, students had the opportunity to audition with industry choreographers for a two week DANCEAMERICA/DANCE OLYMPUS tour. Students selected to participate were Camila Daniel, Miriam Spada, Alex Correa and Liam Boswell.

In addition, Lauren Townsend and Gabriela Miller received junior scholarships for three days of free classes in Chicago.

This type of competition was a new experience for our students. The contemporary Show Team is part of the new Patel Conservatory Popular Dance (PCPD) program, in which students explore various styles of popular dance including hip hop, tap, jazz, contemporary and our own Rockette-style class Just for Kicks, led by Show Team choreographer and former Rockette Kelly King.

“These kids came into this class in the beginning of the year as individuals. After the hard rehearsals, weekly classes and these past two competition weekends, they walked away a team,” said King.

“They learned to support and encourage one another, and rely on one another. I tell them, ‘The joy is in the work. The reward at the end is just the bonus.’ I couldn’t be prouder of these 14 dancers.”

This summer, the Conservatory will offer a Popular Dance intensive led by King and instructor Susan Downey. For students interested in the commercial dance industry, the week-long intensive will immerse dancers in popular styles including tap, Broadway, contemporary and musical theater.

Check out our Show Team along with other great contemporary performances in On the Edge on Apr. 18.

Look for auditions dates for next year’s Show Team on our website this summer!

For more information about our Popular Dance program, or any of our dance classes, please call 813.222.1002 or click here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

PCPD Show Team takes second place at Starquest competition

Congratulations to the Patel Conservatory Show Team on their exceptional performance last weekend at the Starquest dance competition held at Jefferson High School.

Their group piece, Eyes, received Platinum in the Contemporary division and 2nd place overall top score in the Teen Large Group category. In addition, instructor Kelly King was recognized as Outstanding Choreographer.

We’re so excited and proud of them for all their hard work and dedication!

The Show Team is part of the Patel Conservatory’s new Popular Dance program launched this year, in which students explore various styles of popular dance including hip hop, jazz, contemporary and our own Rockette-style class Just for Kicks.

The Show Team will perform in one more competition this month.

Check out these students, as well as students from our Popular Dance program, Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet and Next Generation Ballet, in our upcoming dance concert On the Edge on Apr. 18 in the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Show Team performs in two competitions in February

Patel Conservatory student perform a
contemporary piece in 2014 On the Edge
Best of luck to our Patel Conservatory Popular Dance (PCPD) Show Team as they compete in two regional dance competitions this month.

Show Team students will compete in Starquest at Jefferson High School this Sun., Feb. 8 and at the Dance America/ Dance Olympus competition on Sat., Feb 14, 2015 at the Straz Center.

“These types of competitions attract dance studios from all over the Tampa Bay area. It’s great exposure and experience for our students, and it helps expand their knowledge of the dance industry,” said Show Team instructor Kelly King.

The Conservatory’s Show Team is a choreography class in which students learn and rehearse dance repertoire for competitions.

“I really like the class, it’s really fun. Learning choreography helps me with other classes, too,” said longtime Conservatory student Camila Daniel.

Camila, 14, has taken ballet at the Conservatory for seven years. She’s also taken an array of other classes including tap, musical theater, hip hop, contemporary and jazz.

She says Show Team helps sharpen her skills by working on new choreography and then polishing each piece.

“Miss Kelly teaches me a lot of things that I never thought I could do. She pushes you to the maximum,” said Camila.

Students competing are: Kathryn Gutierrez, Madison Potantus, Lauren Townsend, Camila Daniel, Kristina Biglete, Gabriela Miller, Alexis Diamond, Alex Correa, Miriam Spada, Parker Espada, Helen Textor, Liam Boswell, Shayna Goodman and Daryn Diaz. They come from various schools in the Tampa area including Blake High School, Tampa Preparatory School and Land O' Lakes High School, and some are Next Generation Ballet trainees here at the Conservatory.

These student have put in extra time and rehearsals to prepare for the upcoming competitions.

Camila Daniel
“Competing is about working as a team. No matter what happens, the students know that they’ve made that journey together through hard work,” said King.

As part of the Dance America competition, dancers will also have an opportunity to participate in workshops throughout the day on Sun., Feb 15 with guest artists such as Linda Gianscapa, Sam Fiorello, Dustin Phillips, Brandon Girouard and Germaul Barnes.

“I’ve never done a competition before, so I’m excited to see what other schools are going to show and what their students are doing,” said Camila.

With the growth of the PCPD program, we’ve added a new PCPD intensive this summer from Aug. 10 to Aug. 14, 2015. Designed for students interested in the commercial dance industry, the week-long intensive will immerse dancers in popular styles including tap, Broadway, contemporary and musical theater.

For more information about our PCPD program, please call 813.222.1002 or click here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Advanced music intensives offered this summer

The Patel Conservatory is offering advanced music intensives this summer that are sure to give vocal and instrumental students an edge.

“This year, we’ve expanded the scope and depth of our music offerings to include more intensive training for advanced music students,” said Dr. Daniel Powell, the Conservatory’s Music Department Chair.

New intensives added this year include our jazz and drumline intensives, and our vocal and chamber intensives have broadened in curriculum. All intensives include master classes with seasoned professionals in their respective genre.

“Students will benefit from working with a variety of experienced instructors in both large and small ensembles, and in doing so, will gain invaluable experience and new learning opportunities,” said Powell.

For students in school ensembles, these summer opportunities can sharpen their techniques and performance skills so they’ll be ready for the new school year with renewed vigor.

The vocal and chamber intensives will also include an Honors Recital, which will showcase exceptional students who demonstrate the necessary skills and passion.

Come train with the best in our advanced music intensives:

Voice Intensive
June 8 - 19
Gr 7 - college
Working with distinguished teaching artists in this two-week intensive, vocalists spend each day working in large and small ensemble rehearsals, including daily offerings in diction, song interpretation, master classes and choreography. The Honors Recital showcases those students with the skills and passion to enhance their experience. The intensive culminates with a combined performance on one of the Straz Center’s stages. Private voice lessons are available for an additional fee.

Chamber Music Intensive
Gr. 7 - college
June 8 - 19
Honing their performance and practice skills with master teachers and varied repertoire, string, wind and piano players will perform in a variety of large and small chamber music ensembles. Special topics will include music theory, performance technique, music history and master classes, all culminating in a combined performance on one of the Straz Center’s stages. Private lessons are offered for all instruments and skill levels for an additional fee.

Jazz Intensive
July 27 - 31
Gr 7 - college
For students interested in hands-on, in-depth exposure to the form, this camp pairs teaching artists with students for five full days of small combo and big band playing. With master classes, ear training, sight-reading and classes in improvisation, this camp includes instruction in all aspects of appreciation and performance of jazz and closes with a final jam session.

Gr. 9 - college
July 27 - 31
Individual drummers as well as full drumlines can sharpen their skills in this week-long marching percussion camp. Focusing on rudimental drumming, marching percussion and pit percussion, students gain experience in playing, marching and leadership to enhance the impact of their marching band performances.

For audition information for summer music intensives, please click here.

Students in grades five through 12 may also be interested in our Guitar Camp, Cultural Drumming camp or Rock Star Retreat.

Younger students may be interested in our Children’s Chorus Camp, Pint-Sized Percussion Camp and Instrument Petting Zoo.

For more information, please call 813.222.1002.

Spotlight on Madelyn Ruyle

Madelyn Ruyle has had her share of animal roles in her young acting life. From a snake to a clown fish, Madelyn's experience playing colorful animal characters in such shows as The Jungle Book may have helped her earn her latest role as the lovable bear Winnie the Pooh.

“I’m really excited because I haven’t had a lead role in a show before. I’m really looking forward to acting in front of the audience,” said Madelyn, who plays Pooh in the Patel Conservatory’s upcoming production of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Kids.

Madelyn, 9, started at the Patel Conservatory when she was five years old, taking a variety of classes including ballet and musical theater. 
“I felt the Conservatory was the best place for all things dance, acting and theater,” said Madelyn’s mom Jennifer Ruyle.  “There’s a high level of professionalism.”

As Madelyn grew with the theater program, she went on to perform as a jester in Joust! A Mighty Medieval Musical, a clownfish in The Little Mermaid, Jr. and a snake in The Jungle Book.

“What makes these shows so professional is the sets, costumes, directors...everything from the way a scene is blocked to the choreography, it’s very polished,” said Jennifer.

Performed by second through fourth graders, Winnie the Pooh Kids is a show for kids by kids.

Joined by his friends Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit, and Owl, Winnie the Pooh is once again in search of honey, but soon discovers that Christopher Robin has been captured by the mysterious Backson. As they prepare for a rescue operation, the animals learn about teamwork, friendship and sharing.

This show is a great way to introduce young audiences to live theater and the classic characters of the Hundred Acre Wood.

“When I invite friends to Madelyn's shows, they’re always impressed by the quality and professionalism for kids at this age. They can’t believe it's performed by nine year olds,” said Jennifer.

For Madelyn, she’s happy to perform in the show even if she hadn’t gotten the lead.

“No matter what part you have, you get your time to shine and you have fun doing it.”

Bring the kids and introduce them to all the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood in Winnie the Pooh Kids, playing Feb. 26 through Mar. 1, 2014.

For tickets or more information, click here or call 813.229.7827.