TALKING WITH … Alice Santana, Interim Director of Education and Community Engagement

Recently appointed to the position of interim director of education and community engagement, Straz staffer Alice Santana has a lifelong love of the arts and deep-rooted passion to make an impact in her community.  Her journey with the Straz Center began in January 2016 when she was hired to work in the Patel Conservatory as the student affairs and community relations coordinator. As she flourished... Continue Reading →

Mask Wearing Then and Now

By guest blogger Suzanne Livesay, Straz Center Vice President of Education and Community Engagement Mask wearing has been a topic of conversation in the United States for almost three months and counting. A required piece of attire as we reintroduce our on-site summer camps at Patel Conservatory will be the mask. No matter how one... Continue Reading →

Big Heart, Open Mind

One Patel Conservatory theater instructor’s journey to the big time in the big top and how realizing his dream helps students reach theirs. Just a few years back, Patel Conservatory theater faculty member Matthew Belopavlovich stood stranded atop a 25-foot tower while a handful of clowns, dressed as knights, circled beneath, trying to figure out... Continue Reading →

DIY Instrument Making at Home for You and the Kids

The music chair at the Patel Conservatory, Dr. Lauren Murray, shows you fun, simple instructions for how to make your own instruments using household objects. Today we’re offering up an activity of note where you can conduct an experiment of symphonic proportions. We invited Lauren Murray, chamber musician extraordinaire and the music chair of the... Continue Reading →

Let’s ROCK

Meet classically-trained Philly pop punk rocker Kevin Sitaras, director of the Patel Conservatory’s super popular Rock School. Rock School at the Patel Conservatory puts together people who want to be in a rock band. The drummer may be a 65-year-old retiree, the guitarist a seventh-grader, the lead singer a recent transplant working her first professional... Continue Reading →

Together, Wherever We Go

The Straz Arts Education’s Broadway Buddies program unites kids from different learning backgrounds. A little bit exchange program, a little bit Big Brother/Big Sister, a little bit theater boot camp and a lot of laughs – that describes the remarkable new program launched by Acting Director of Community Engagement and Education Programs Alice Santana and... Continue Reading →

The Seuss Is Loose

Approaching 30 years since his death, Dr. Seuss sits poised to publish a new book from his perennial throne on the bestseller lists (WHAT.). Meanwhile, the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory musical theater department rehearses Seussical, Jr. down stairs from the blog office for its run in the TECO theater April 25-28. Why do we love... Continue Reading →

Stompin’ Around

Everybody, everywhere’s got rhythm. African juba. Irish jig. American tap. African-American step. Indian Kathak. Argentine malambo. Gumboot, chancleta, Spanish flamenco, Cuban flamenco, trash percussion (think STOMP). From all the varied, colorful corners of our endearing and often baffling human society, rhythm dances emerge, catch on like wildfire and become a common language amongst us. Tribes... Continue Reading →

Confessions of a Costumer

The performing arts are big business. In this industry, we have a lot of super important jobs for people who love the theater but who may have no interest in performing. This week, we sat down with Straz Center costumer Camille McClellan, who costumes dance and musical theater productions for the Patel Conservatory, to find... Continue Reading →

From Suzuki to Itzhak

Ten-year-old music student Mateo Valdes’ violin journey at the Patel Conservatory. Patel Conservatory violin student Mateo Valdes has a very deep and wise gaze under a flop of shaggy, dark bangs. He doesn’t make eye contact much, but when he does, he seems to possess a kind of old-soul way of knowing that belies his... Continue Reading →

Funky Drummer

Fifteen-year-old Patel Conservatory student Meghan Lock: “learning drums is my life.” Meghan Lock’s formal musical life began like most, with piano lessons at the bright, young age of five years old. But, when her parents realized she was spending more minutes in time out for not practicing than minutes she was playing, they took a... Continue Reading →

#Winning

FAME Academy at River Ridge High School won its first ever Critic’s Choice for One Act after students studied with touring Broadway actors from FUN HOME at The Straz. SETTING: An Army hospital CHARACTERS: Three Vietnam veterans SYNOPSIS: The war survivors befriend each other while recuperating from tours in Vietnam. They tease, torment and often... Continue Reading →

… Five, Six, Seven, Eight …

Understanding the summer dance intensive Dance training often begins as early as three years old with a training year of classes mimicking the school schedule. In June, recitals signal the culmination of study and show off the hard-won skills in a public dance performance. But then what? Cue the summer dance intensive, an integral part... Continue Reading →

Local Profiles: Sculpting Out a Future

Jim and Joan Jennewein helped shape the Straz Center in more ways than one. In the spring of 1981, a young visionary architect named Jim Jennewein walked across a scraggly five-acre parking lot alongside the Hillsborough River. In his mind, he built a future performing arts center for the people of Tampa Bay. The plans,... Continue Reading →

Manual Transmission

Dance lineage is a big deal. A very big deal. So, when Next Generation Ballet got a descendant of Jerome Robbins, who was guided by George Balanchine, who was instructed by Marius Petipa, the Straz Center leapt for joy. Philip Neal, the artistic director for Next Generation Ballet, came to us from New York City... Continue Reading →

Up ↑