Spring Events at the USF College of the Arts

By guest blogger Jennifer Bennett10308298_10203749113037648_7190395883525380876_n

Last weekend, through a partnership with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was invited to attend the USF College of the Arts spring Student Dance Concert. The concert was held from April 4th through April 10th and was presented by the College of Theatre and Dance’s Student Production Board.logo

Each year the College of Theatre and Dance produce and perform amazing shows for the USF and Tampa Bay audiences. In the fall of 2015 the school performed U.S. Drag, directed by visiting faculty member Daniel Granke as well as Pantomime by Derek Walcott, directed by guest artist Henry Muttoo (Cayman National Cultural Foundation Artistic Director), the off-Broadway hit 9 Parts of Desire and a fall Student Dance Concert. For the spring of 2016, they have performed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Spring Dance Concert and will be featuring Violet, a musical directed by our newest faculty member Douglas Hall starting on April 14. 

Walking into Theatre 2 at the University of South Florida I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that I was there to watch the Student Dance Concert but beyond that I was not sure what this performance would be like.FullSizeRender

The black box theatre was cozy and comfortable. I chose a seat in the middle top row giving me a nice visual of the dance floor. The concert began a few minutes after the scheduled start time and we were welcomed by one of the dance students who provided us with information regarding the performances which were all pieces choreographed and performed by students. The lights then went black and when they came back up 2 female dancers were ready to begin.IMG_1114

The dancers were diverse and all performed with grace and beauty. I was impressed by not only the dancer’s skills but the support that the dancers gave one another. Each performance was well received by the audience and the loud applause was an audible demonstration of their appreciation and delight. The dancers told stories using their bodies and their music was chosen wisely. The performance right before intermission provided the audience with a sensory experience- music and dance were combined with props in the form of a treasure box and sand and dirt. The aroma added to the story and the experience.IMG_1118

Intermission provided an opportunity for audience members to purchase snacks via donation with all of the proceeds going to the Vargas Scholarship. This scholarship was created in memory of a very special student who passed away several years ago. I donated money to this scholarship knowing that one of these talented and hardworking students would benefit! I headed back to my seat after a few moments in the foyer excited to view the remaining pieces. I was not disappointed as the final pieces were as fabulous as the first performances. 

The last piece not only involved dance but acting and live music. This piece was the most entertaining and I could tell the students enjoyed being able to act along with their choreographed moves. The concert ended and the audience roared with applause. Family members presented students with flowers and hugs and I left the theatre impressed with the USF dance students. I will most definitely be back for more performances and I encourage you to take some time to support the USF dance Department and their amazing students!IMG_1120

I am excited to see the musical Violet performed by the USF theatre department next week. This time I have great expectations and I am sure that I won’t be disappointed!


If you would like to attend a performance of the upcoming musical Violet, here is the information:

5042-Violet Poster Image webpage

Music by Jeanine Tesori and Lyrics and Book by Brian Crawley
Based on “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts
Directed by Douglas Hall
April 14-16 & 21-23, 2016 @ 7:30pm
April 17 & 24, 2016 @ 3pm
Theatre 1, Tampa Campus

With a lead role that won Sutton Foster a Tony nomination for the 2014 Broadway revival and music by Jeanine Tesori (of smash Broadway hit Fun Home fame) Violet tells the story of a young woman’s quest for beauty amidst the image-obsessed landscape of the 1960s. Facially disfigured in a childhood accident, Violet dreams of a miraculous transformation through the power of faith. Convinced that a televangelist in Oklahoma can heal her, she hops a Greyhound bus and starts the journey of a lifetime and discovers the true meaning of beauty, courage and love. 

Tickets for all events are available by phone or at the Box Office (Open: Tues. – Fri. 12:00pm – 4:00pm, weekdays) beginning two weeks prior to opening night.

For day of performance ticket purchases:
The Box Office will be located at the event venue and will be open 2 hours prior to performance time.

Disclosure: I was given tickets in exchange for social media love and blog posts promoting events by the USF college of the arts. All opinions are my own. 


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When I first lost my mom, it was difficult to look into the future and envision a normal life. I was 31 going on 32, and could not believe that my time with my mom was over; just like that. 

For weeks and months my nights would be filled with thoughts of sorrow. How she would never get to see all the milestones my brother and I still needed to reach, and how my future children would go without knowing their maternal grandmother. My mind was littered with worry, and sadness and until I learned to cope with it all, it would turn out to be one of the hardest times of my life.  Continue reading