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 →

Not Throwing Away Their Shot

The Straz Center education program readies local high school musical theater talents for the big time with the Broadway Star of the Future program. Winners get a chance to wow Broadway producers and directors in NYC for their shot at the title – and potentially launch their careers with a Jimmy® Award. We all know... Continue Reading →

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 →

Give ‘em the ol’ Razzle Dazzle

Need a song-and-dance cabaret act for your next event? Look no further than Ovation!, the Patel Conservatory’s traveling troupe of professionally trained entertainers for hire. For a few years, a delightful idea from the Patel Conservatory’s theater department rolled around in The Straz’s creative hopper: what if ... is it possible ... could we have... 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 →

Villain, Dragon, The Voice

Former Patel Conservatory student Shalyah Fearing Dreams It and Does It . . . Congratulations on Her Outstanding Performance on The Voice The Straz Center believes in the vital power of the performing arts to nurture the human spirit. Anyone should be able to cultivate her or his creative gifts and curiosities starting at a... 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 →

Lights on Tampa: Nick Cave’s HEARD

This isn’t the “of the Bad Seeds” Nick Cave. This is the performance artist Nick Cave who studied at the Ailey School and later joined the faculty at the Art Institute of Chicago. He now serves that institution as the director of the graduate fashion program. If you haven’t heard of him or had a... Continue Reading →

The Iron Pachyderm Parade

Quick Circus History, What that has to do with Florida, and We Know Someone Who Lived on the Circus Train Most people in the Tampa Bay area know about our long and intriguing history with the Ringling family of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fame, but we wager to guess that our connection... Continue Reading →

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