Tuesday, March 31, 2015

From Fiddler to Broadway Bound, adult student Carol Byrd enjoys new challenges

Whether taking dance or theater classes, there’s a feeling that Carol Byrd gets when she comes to the Patel Conservatory.

“When you walk in to the Conservatory, you’re just happy,” said Carol. “Everyone is always so encouraging.”

Prior to starting classes at the Conservatory, she’d done some theater in college, but hadn’t performed in many years. She’d always wanted to try tap.

“As an adult, you become a mom and have a family, and you get away from doing the things you love to do, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to pursue.”

She began taking tap classes in 2007 and has since taken ballet and jazz and enjoyed a host of performance experiences. She’s been in numerous open dance showcases, the annual Spotlight Awards for four years, and had an ensemble role in the Conservatory’s theater production of Kiss Me, Kate. She performed in the recent open dance intensive Winter Fantasy, and is currently a cast member in Fiddler on the Roof, on stage in April.

With each performance opportunity comes a new challenge. While the rehearsal process for Fiddler on the Roof has been demanding, for Carol, it’s also extremely rewarding.

“It’s a lot of work, there’s a lot we have to learn in a short amount of time. It takes you out of your comfort zone, which is scary, but exhilarating,” she said.

In addition to pushing herself artistically, with every experience she enjoys meeting new people.

“Of course, with each show, the cast bonds and you get close to people.”

In Winter Fantasy, she and other participants spent one week learning and polishing choreography and musical theater pieces to perform in a show at the end of the week.

“It was one of the best weeks of my life. It was intense…you dance every night for two to three hours. You have to pick up the choreography quickly, but, you find you can actually do it. It’s amazing how the show comes together in just a week,” said Carol.

While performing on Straz Center stages may have become second nature to her, no matter how many times she performs, it’s always a thrill.

“It’s a great feeling every time the audience claps at the end. It’s just amazing,” she said. “I have mad love for the place.”

In fact, she’s already planning her next show after Fiddler on the Roof. She intends on signing up for the open dance intensive in May, Broadway Bound.

We look forward to seeing Carol in Fiddler on the Roof and many more shows to come!

Fiddler on the Roof runs April 16 through April 26, 2015. For tickets, click here.

The open dance intensive, Broadway Bound, will be May 4 through May 9, with the performance on May 9, 2015. For more information, click here or call 813.222.1002.

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