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Creativity in the Time of Covid–May 8, 2022

Happy Mother’s Day!

We are grateful to the mothers, parents and guardians who entrust Booker High VPA with the nurturing of their children’s talents. Here’s to an excellent day celebrating the sacrifice, limitless love, and strength mothers provide to the world.

Fantastic Forum Awes Audiences

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” enjoyed a short but electrifying run at the Sarasota Opera House this weekend.

The cast and crew of “Forum”

The musical showcased the physical, farcical talents of the cast, with Judah Woomert demonstrating his boundless capabilities as the lead Pseudolus, who engineers a plot to achieve his own freedom by wooing the girl next door for his master. With fantastical vocal performances and spectacular dance numbers, Forum provided a hilarious escape for all who witnessed it.

Music Recital Captures End-of-Journey Emotion

The VPA Music Department presented a choir and orchestra recital on Friday night at the First Presbyterian Church. The performance was the last all-class recital for seniors before their senior recital on May 13.

Mr. Zickafoose directs the chorus.

As is typical for Music performances, although the focus was only on two instrumental areas–vocals and strings–the range of music was broad. The choirs’ repertoire ranged from Rihanna’s “Stay” to Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.”

The orchestra performed a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere” from West Side Story, which has enjoyed a revival in popularity since the release of the film in 2021.

Ms. Nix leads her orchestra in a final bow.

The concert culminated, as is tradition, in a performance of “Homeward Bound.” Emotions ran high, with Mr. Zickafoose giving seniors a special graduation trinket: a rainbow infinity symbol. The pendant represents the full circle of VPA concerts for these seniors. Their first concert was “In Living Color.” The final major showcase was “Infinite.”

Dance Show Emphasizes Process

The VPA Dance Department presented “In Progress” on Saturday night. ” Uniquely Courtney Smith, the show’s entire purpose was to illuminate viewers of the process of dancemaking.

Although she is a trained dancer, Ms. Smith is a teacher’s teacher. That is to say, her curriculum covers far beyond the artistry of movement. In fact, she folds mindset, goal-making, and strategies that can be applied to all areas of study.

As evidence of her emphasis on teaching and learning, Ms. Smith designed “In Progress” to showcase just that: progress. Rather than featuring finished works of accomplished choreographers, “In Progress” knitted together student works, demonstrating their learning and fledgling understanding of choreography.

Legacy of Dance: Dancers Learn Valuable Lessons from Alum

Another demonstration of Ms. Courtney Smith’s purposeful teaching this week was a conversation she coordinated between current dancers and alum of the Dance Department.

Dancer Claudia Rightmire shares advice.

Ms. Smith contacted dance graduates from the past decade to Zoom in with her current students. Topics of discussion ranged from navigating dance careers to understanding the value of dance education notwithstanding career goals. Indeed, those dance alum not still dancing shared the valuable skills from dance education they’ve brought into current fields. By contrast, those still dancing offered advice and personal journey stories that could help mentor up-and-coming dancers.

Students absorb each word and invite new insights with thought-provoking questions.

As with all Ms. Smith’s thoughtful activities, this one elicited engagement, sparked interest, and broadened her dancers’ concept of the treasures to be found in their dance education.

Upcoming Event

Reel Life: Annual Film & Animation Showcase

May 17 | 7 p.m. @ Burns Court Cinema

The VPA Film & Animation Annual Showcase will entertain and edify with screen stories that shine a light on life as our students see it. They will also offer a glimpse of the day-to-day process students use to bring their art to life. The showcase is a mix of live-action, animated shorts, and documentary work. This screening opportunity is made possible thanks to The Sarasota Film Society.

Look! Just Ahead! It’s the End of the Year

We’re wrapping up our season with just one last season showcase coming up: “Reel Life,” the Film & Animation showcase May 17. See more here.

Other than that, we’ve reached Senior Showcase season. Here’s what’s on tap:

May 12 @ 7 p.m.

Theatre Senior Showcase | Neel Performing Arts Center at State College of Florida, Bradenton

May 13 @ 7 p.m.

Music Senior Showcase | First Presbyterian Church, Sarasota

May 14 @ 7 p.m.

Dance Senior Showcase | Booker High Cafe, Sarasota

May 17 @ 7 p.m.

Film Senior Showcase (and Annual Showcase)* | Burns Court Cinema, Sarasota

May 18 @ 6:30 p.m.

VPA Silver Cord Ceremony | Booker High School

May 20 @ 7 p.m.

Art Senior Showcase | Ringling College of Art & Design, Sarasota

May 21 @ 3 p.m.

Graduation | Robarts Arena, Sarasota


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