A Ballet Hidden Treasure in Tampa

Published in the December 2010/January 2011 issue.

A two-act ballet that is sure to shiver ye timbers takes the stage in the Tampa Bay area this January! Choreographed and written by former New York City Ballet dancer Christopher Fleming, Gaspar – A Pirate Fantasy is a swashbuckling ballet based off the life of legendary pirate José Gaspar. On January 30th at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the pirate ballet is returning to Tampa Bay after a 16-year absence as part of the area’s Gasparilla Festival—a celebration in honor of Gaspar.

 

“The ballet is unique to the Tampa Bay area,” Fleming explains. The original score is by Tampa Bay’s own David Goldstein, M.D., and the corps de ballet will consist of young dancers from the area, including students from the Patel Conservatory and Gibbs High School. Fleming has been teaching master classes around Tampa Bay and holding auditions after class for the production. “The talent here is great,” Fleming says. For the principal and solo roles, Fleming has cast professional dancers from the newly-formed Ballet Fleming Dance Company, which is based in Philadelphia at Fleming’s new Philadelphia Ballet School. On top of the dancing, the ballet’s battle scenes will be augmented by a Tampa Bay pirate theatrical troupe, so, as Fleming says, “it’s not just a bunch of ballet guys fighting.”

 

All proceeds from the ballet will go to local non-profits including the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Florida Chapter of Operation Homefront, as well as Drew’s Shoes, a charity dedicated to providing dance shoes for underprivileged children.