Practice Makes Perfect

Inside Next Generation Ballet’s Nutcracker rehearsal Dance rehearsal smells like feet and moist leotards. There’s nothing elegant about it. When the dancers work hard, improvising corrections on-the-fly from choreographers and ballet mistresses, there is a locker-room funk suspended in the air from sweat-dampened dance clothes, breath and many bodies moving in one studio classroom. So... Continue Reading →

Lizzie Borden Took an Acts

Performing arts adaptations of one of America’s most grisly and haunting murder stories The facts are simple. On Aug. 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were found dead in their Falls River, Mass., home from multiple hatchet wounds. Police found no sign of a struggle, no convincing murder weapon, no bloody clothes on any possible... Continue Reading →

Leotard, Check. Make-Up Kit, Check. Valve Oil? Check.

The Patel Conservatory Gears Up for Another School Year There’s no such thing as summer break for the faculty and staff of the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory. We spend the summer months steeped in a camps, classes, workshops, performances and pre-professional productions like this year’s impressive mounting of an almost full-scale Les Miserables. So, we... Continue Reading →

Okay, Ladies, Now Let’s Get in Formation

Ballet conjures images of tutus, tights, impossible-looking turns on tips of toes and gravity-defying mid-air leaps. If you’ve never taken a ballet class or had a little ballet beginner, then you may not realize those tricky combinations of flicks, kicks, twists, tippy-toe steps, glides, bends and hops emerge from a seriously old set of schematics... Continue Reading →

Paper + Glue + Satin = Athletic Equipment

You Can Tell A Lot About A Woman By Her Shoes Ballet, with its emphasis on gracefulness, classical music and tutus, is subject to a bevy of cultural misunderstandings, one of the most glaring is the conception that ballerinas are fragile dancing fairies, or Queen Faeries, depending upon the role. Not so. Just take a... Continue Reading →

Barefoot Dancers, Reaching, Emoting

The Relevé of Contemporary Dance … but what is it? The meteoric rise of the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance created a new generation of dance fans, young and old alike, bringing a surge of attention to the many genres of the art form. Ballet, recognizable. Hip-hop, easy to spot. Ballroom... Continue Reading →

New NGB Artistic Director and Dance Department Chair Philip Neal Brings Legacy of Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine

In June, Philip Neal officially joined the Patel Conservatory as the artistic director for Next Generation Ballet and chair of the dance department, the position formerly held by Peter Stark. George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins were to American dance what Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio were to baseball. Heavy-hitters, game-changers, larger-than-life personalities, Balanchine and Robbins... Continue Reading →

Diversity in Ballet

Many performing arts lovers shouted “Bravo!,” “Finally!” and “What Took So Long?” when American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland broke the oft-unspoken color barrier in the European-standards of ballet to become an international star. Her recent commercial for Under Armor went viral, forcing people to rethink their notions of ballet dancers as athletes and also... Continue Reading →

A View from the Feet

By guest blogger Carol Cohen, Mother Matryoshka performer for 5 years Among the whip-thin ballerinas performing grand jetés and assemblés in the Russian Imperial ballet of the Nutcracker, loom the rotund, bouncing figures of the Mother Matryoshkas—eight Russian nesting dolls, appearing in descending order of height and girth. The Matryoshkas--meaning “little mother” in Russian--appear on... Continue Reading →

FROM THE VAULT: Straz Center Archives

To our delight, the Caught in the Act staff discovered a box of newspaper articles and fundraising artifacts from the Straz Center’s early years, many from the inaugural 1987-1988 season. We decided to create a regular feature called From the Vault to share these snippets of performing arts history with you. Enjoy! October 19, 1987... Continue Reading →

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