Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Spotlight on Tatiana Tipton

Tatiana Tipton quickly ran from TECO Theater’s backstage through the Straz Center halls to Ferguson Hall’s backstage.

She had just performed in the Patel Conservatory’s end of summer music concert, and had just a few minutes to change costumes and go on stage in the summer’s Popular Dance Intensive Showcase.

Such is life for this eighth grader from Williams Middle School. Between academics, dance, theater and music classes, rehearsals and performances, her schedule is a complex balancing act. And that’s the way she likes it.

“I love performing on stage and becoming another character. I’m always wanting to do more,” said Tatiana, who will be performing in the Conservatory’s fall productions of Schoolhouse Rock Live!, Jr., and The Nutcracker.

Tatiana began taking dance classes at the Patel Conservatory when she was about three years old. She took classes elsewhere for a while until her mom, Jeanette, realized she was developing some bad habits and brought her back to the Conservatory.

“Within a year of being back at the Conservatory, I saw a difference in her ballet technique and ability,” said Jeanette.

That was the first year Tatiana performed in The Nutcracker.

“I was so surprised when I got a role as a Party Girl. It was so much fun to be in a role that required me to act and dance, and part of what got me into acting,...the whole experience of the beautiful sets and costumes, it was amazing,” said Tatiana.

The following summer, she jumped into musical theater with the Conservatory’s production of The Little Mermaid, Jr.

“The Little Mermaid was a whole new experience. Watching the design and building of the sets and the costumes, and seeing it all come together, I thought it was the coolest thing. I just wanted to do everything.”

She has since performed in several Conservatory theater productions, and added voice and acting classes to her already busy dance schedule. She’s currently enrolled in several dance, theater and music classes, as well as private voice and flute lessons at the Conservatory. She’s working towards a theater certification and hopes to one day perform on Broadway.

“Being able to take singing, acting and dance is a great experience. I like putting in the work. I like to challenge myself,” she said.

Jeanette appreciates that Tatiana can get all of her performing arts training under one roof with such a professional staff.

“Every show they produce, whether it’s musical theater or dance, is so amazing that it’s hard to believe sometimes that the kids are just students and not professional performers,” said Jeanette.

“I like that she has the ability to dabble in everything. I see how much it has made her blossom as an individual. I think it’s made her more well-rounded and much more self-confident.”

In addition to Tatiana’s busy performance schedule, she plays flute in her school band and maintains almost excellent grades in Williams’ challenging IB program.

“I try very hard to stick to my schedule. I work to get a lot done on the weekends, I can’t get too sidetracked by my phone or TV. I’ve always been pretty much a straight A student, and I try to keep that up,” said Tatiana.

Whether memorizing scripts, practicing flute, or working on dance choreography, Tatiana feels most at home at the Conservatory.

“I enjoy coming here so much. All the teachers here are great. It’s like family,” she said.

Don’t miss Tatiana and a cast of more the 30 students in the musical version of the popular television show, SchoolhouseRock Live!, Jr., Nov. 5 through 8, 2015 in TECO Theater.

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

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