The Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and
Tampa Preparatory School have been brewing up a partnership that will
benefit students and community members alike.
Starting later this month, the Patel Conservatory
will offer the Patel Conservatory at Tampa Preparatory as an extended campus situated onsite at Tampa Preparatory School
. Instructors from
the Patel Conservatory will teach dance to Tampa Preparatory students as
part of their graded curriculum. Students will also have the
opportunity to participate in the Patel Conservatory outreach
experiences, including workshops and master classes. Selected classes
will be available to the public.
"It's such a perfect win-win
situation," says Wendy Leigh, vice president of education at the David
A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Tampa Bay
Performing Arts Center). "We both have similar visions of the synergy we
The collaboration begins with dance and the
students at Tampa Prep will have guidance from an acclaimed dance
instructor. Patel Conservatory recently hired Peter Stark as the dance
chair for the department. Stark was formerly with the Orlando Ballet
School, which has historically been voted the best school in the nation
under Stark's direction.
The relationship between the two schools began years ago through informal meet and greets, and "by working that six degrees of separation."
when great things happen. When you have a small dedicated group that's
working on something, having great communication back and forth, and
dreaming big," says Kevin Plummer, head of Tampa Preparatory. "We had a
group of people that really believe that the arts are an asset and an
enhancement and definer of humanity. And that's a great place to be."
December 2009, the two schools started to identify resources that could be shared and could enhance the other institution. "We
started to dream big about education and we started to talk about what
was possible for kids in Tampa," says Plummer. "We said that we had to
develop a program that can be a model that can grow."
shared that during one of their conversations, they talked about the
potential for having a performance with dance, music, acting, and, if
possible, at every high school in Hillsborough County.
at Tampa Prep begin school on Aug. 19, 2010. An announcement will go out
the week prior informing families of the strategic partnership.
"We're building for
the future, not just for this year. There's some real opportunities here
for the students to be exposed to some of the best dancers in the
country, actors, best musicians. It's a chance for the professionals at
our school to work with the professionals across the river," says
Writer: Nancy Vaughn
Source: Wendy Leigh, Patel Conservatory; Kevin Plummer, Tampa Prep