“Tampa – 3-day Weekend” The Traveling Ballet Master
Well, I’ve had a hot 36 hours at home in Philly and looks like it’s time to travel again. This morning I drove the 95 miles to Goucher College and taught 2 classes. The one class a ballet technique class the second a partnering class. This partnering class is unusual for a college program and is one of the progressive things that Elizabeth Ahearn as the Chair of the Dance Department has been bringing to the table. I will talk about this class more in the future and it’s importance in training ballet dancers.
Anyway, classes done I drove to BWI (Baltimore Washington International) Airport and hopped on a plane for Tampa, Florida. I will not be choreographing or teaching on this trip. Instead this trip is part of a special project that I’m doing in Tampa under the visionary leadership of my patrons, Sharon and Richard Sanchez.
Our goal is to establish an annual Charity Benefit Ballet Performance. That performance will benefit The Red Cross and Operation Home Front. For those of you who may or may not be aware Operation Home Front is a charity that helps our soldiers who are returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is one of the most well run charities in the United States with over 95 percent of the monies going to the people who need it the most. Please check out both the Red Cross and Operation Home Front Websites if you wish to help. I will write more about this as we complete our goal to bring this Benefit Performance to it completion.
So how does this relate to Tampa, Florida and my involvement?
Tampa has a very special month long celebration called the “Gasparilla Pirate Festival”. It is over a hundred year old tradition in Tampa. It can best be described as Mardi gras with a Pirate invasion of the city thrown in for good measure. As one of the local Pirate Wenches and her daughter informed me, “Tampa is a unique American City with two made up holidays; Gasparilla and Guvaween”. So there you have it, go figure!
Now as to my involvement, back in 1994 while directing the ballet company in Tampa. I had created an original two Act swashbuckling Pirate Ballet in honor of Jose Gaspar, the Pirate. It turns out the while Jose Gaspar had been a real Pirate; he had never gotten any closer to Tampa than Cuba. Good for me. With none of those pesky historical issues in my way. I was free to write a ballet libretto that did not need to be historically accurate.
Anyway about a year ago, Sharon Sanchez contacted me asking if I would be interested in reviving the ballet for this worthy cause. I jumped at the opportunity. I will explain more as we travel through this 3-day trip to Tampa.