Joyce Willett School of Dance nurtures young dancers in an emotionally, intellectually, and socially safe space. Instructors encourage students to embrace their creative instincts, exploring music through the movement of their body while developing fine and gross motor skills in a supportive environment. Teachers integrate multiple dance styles into classes, from the precise gestures of ballet to the less-structured movements of hip-hop and jazz. The school's theater-arts preschool program cultivates young performers through theater games and role-play that emphasize socialization. Students learn to not only read picture books but to act out their stories and ultimately leverage their adorable dimples into a two-picture deal plus a cut of merchandising.
The nonprofit home of revitalized classical and contemporary music, the Round Rock Symphony Orchestra reshapes masterpieces by Vivaldi and Copland in its season opener, A New Birth of Freedom. As a hush falls over the audience, popular conductor Grant Gilman releases poised bows, sending them flying across strings to weave the notes of the overture to Rossini's lively La Gazza Ladra until they form a durable basket. Guest soloist Ertan Torgul, San Antonio Symphony's concertmaster, adds extra ear candy to the orchestra during Astor Piazzolla's modern version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. A narrating voice joins strings in Copland's Lincoln Portrait before performers jig through Elgar's Enigma Variations. Since the symphony aims to foster a love of music in young people, the special selection of Into the Storm fuses the experience of the orchestra with the energy of student musicians from Round Rock middle schools. At 7 p.m., Maestro Gilman will chat with interested audience members about the music and composers they're about to hear, as well as providing a glimpse of the rare bird taught to sing inside every violin.
Although Stewart Yaros has performed with numerous elite companies, including the Boston Ballet and the Basel Ballet in Switzerland, his true passion is teaching dance. Teaching allowed the University of Massachusetts and Martha Mahr School of Ballet alumnus to combine his finely honed dance expertise and his zeal for communicating with others via the "common language" of dance in particular and the arts in general.
That theme of unity and togetherness dates back to the early days of Dance International, circa 1991, when the now bustling center for dance tutoring consisted of three students, their devoted teacher, and an old player piano that played Chopsticks. Today, the organization has swelled into a hub for upbeat, accessible instruction from professional-level teachers and is well-known for organizing the Austin Ballroom Festival.
Part of the guiding vision for Dance International is a focus on community service, as well as promoting the arts by introducing music and visual forms into the dance milieu. True to its multidisciplinary ambitions, the Dance International empire recently achieved 501(c)3 national nonprofit status and will soon add art and music classes.
In 1887, 17-year-old Italian immigrant Salvatore Capezio moved to New York to sell theatrical shoes, opening his first shop near the old Metropolitan Opera House. Of course, he quickly found himself dealing with the intense demands of the professional dancers that frequented the store, and Capezio began challenging himself to master the delicate balance and construction of pointe shoes. By the 1930s, his designs carried dancers across the stages of Broadway, and innovations bearing his name continue to appear today in such television and film productions as Dancing with the Stars and Black Swan. Committed to the needs of performers in dance, theater, and recreation, the Capezio team continues to fulfill young Sal's legacy by crafting footwear for ballet, tap, and ballroom dancing, and gymnastics.
When Felicity Coltman founded it in 1981, the Austin Chamber Music Center's goal was simpler than it is today, yet still ambitious: to create a summer chamber-music workshop for teens. Since then, not only have many alumni gone on to become professional musicians, but the center has expanded into an outreach organization whose concerts and instruction brings chamber music to Austin ears, instruments, and hearts. Adults of similar skill levels gather into small chamber-music groups, whereas youngsters meet with instructors on weekends, during the summer, or in school. Just two years after its founding, the center sent students on two European voyages and hosted musicians from Salzburg, starting an international exchange program that continues today.
In 1988, a unique performance series took form with the center’s Intimate Concerts, which take place in private homes so that audiences can experience the music in a personal way and help their cats learn to read sheet music. Led by artistic director Michelle Schumann the center now holds year-round concerts for a variety of musical tastes, with all programs including live program notes.
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