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Creativity in the Time of Covid-Dec. 13, 2020

The ‘Glow’ Must Go On

Beset with Covid-related troubles ranging from mask mandates, new audience protocols, unpredictable inclement weather, and even tech issues in a Dec. 11 livestream performance, the VPA is coming to terms with navigating this new realm of producing performance that is meaningful and enjoyable. It’s been a rough road.

However, even through what seems to be an endless list of challenges, VPA Music is currently producing a winter music extravaganza, “Glow,” that unites vocals and the orchestra in a moving performance that will be dropped at the eve of Winter Break.

Listen to unforgettable sounds from the holidays this Friday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. Event links will be posted on Facebook, but you can check in here to find our performances.

‘Every Move that She Makes…’

VPA Theatre hosted a masterclass with Broadway performer Heather Parcells, most recently of A Chorus Line, the revival, who Zoomed in from her apartment in New York City to deliver a 90-minute dance class where students learned choreography from the iconic Broadway musical.

The call culminated in a 30-minute Q&A that allowed insights into earning a Broadway career, with Parcells, who also appeared in Broadway’s Tuck Everlasting and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Parcells graduated from Florida State University’s BFA Musical Theatre training program, a post-secondary destination for a number of VPA Theatre grads, including most recently Emma Katz (2020).

Thanks to Cynthia Ashford–Ms. Cynthia–for making this happen and bringing Heather into the classroom. As Ms. Cynthia says, it’s a win-win to let students learn from pros, and supporting out-of-work Broadway actors is a second important benefit.

Classroom in Focus: History Lessons thru Dance

Dancers take in a contemporary version of the ballet “Giselle.”

This week in ballet, dance students examined the history of the ballet “Giselle” from an early production through modern times. The lesson allowed students to see how socio-political and aesthetic norms change and are absorbed into and reflected by the dance form.

“Giselle” is a ballet that centers on a woman betrayed, who subsequently enlists women to ensnare men into their enchanting forest with promises of romance, only to deliver revenge upon whomever falls prey to their entreaties. It’s a great revenge story that reads well through dance.

Dancers were able to see early choreographies, more classically focused, more reliant upon beauty of form, all the way through to more modern and, perhaps, less tidy versions, some set in insane asylums with sets replete with comic-strip human body parts and others that make use of spear-like props.

Ballet teacher Jenna Outerbridge facilitated discussion, challenging dancers to consider which versions speak most compellingly to them as well as to explain why.

“I love teaching the intersections between dance and other facets of life,” Outerbridge said. “It reinforces the connectedness of time and space and gives my dancers something to really delve into as critical thinkers.”

VPA Auditions for 2021-22 All Online

Now that shadows, field trips, and in-person tours are a thing of the past, the VPA is refining its approach for the recruiting season for the 2021-22 school year. All auditions, tours, and info sessions will be held online only.

As current VPA families, you may ask what this news has to do with you. The answer is two-fold: first, much of the great publicity we get is through word of mouth from our parents and students. You are our frontline marketers, always sharing your experiences and helping friends navigate the process. For that we’re grateful. Second, many of our candidates in a given year are siblings of a VPA student or graduate, and if you’ve got another talented artist coming our way, this new will directly affect you.

Booker VPA will work with Acceptd to audition all prospective students, and the new audition platform is set to be live in late January/early February. The window for priority decision ends March 12.

Stay tuned for links and updates.

Other measures we’ve taken to provide info are as follows:

  • We’ve produced a Video Tour for families to see our campus, meet our teachers, and hear from our students
  • We are hosting Zoom orientation/information sessions every Wednesday at 1:30 to help answer questions and share program info. Interested people can register with Nancy Wachendorf at Nancy.wachendorf@sarasotacountyschools.net
  • We will host a Zoom Magnet Night in January, date to be determined

MIA: FAFSA Confirmations

We’re still collecting FAFSA confirmations to help ensure that all of our college-bound students have completed this vital application that can be a key to all sorts of financial assistance, from federal to institutional. Please email those confirmations to Rebecca Abrahamson at Rebecca.abrahamson@sarasotacountyschools.net.

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