Changing Lives Through Performing Arts

Patel Conservatory Celebrates Ten Years |  By Ronda M. Parag


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From the state-of-the-art classrooms to the stages of Broadway, concert halls and rock venues, the students who spend some time training at the Patel Conservatory seem to be going places.


“We could not be more proud of our leadership at the Patel Conservatory for seeing the golden opportunities of pre-professional and performing arts classes for our community,” says Straz Center President and CEO, Judy Lisi. “We wanted the Patel to be a conservatory of excellence that would also serve a community of people of all ages and abilities, who wanted to take classes for fun, or to enhance their training and talents. This is a performing arts school for everybody.”


Opened in 2004, the Patel Conservatory began as a dream for a community conservatory that would somehow provide affordable classes in the performing arts for everybody, and also serve as a model school for excellence in pre-professional artistic training. Now, a mere ten years later, the Patel Conservatory proves that such ambitious goals could not only be met, but, in many cases, also be surpassed.


“Walking through the conservatory’s hallways, you’re just as likely to strike up a conversation with a young person headed to a prestigious ballet company, as you are to talk with someone who is taking his or her first acting or voice or music lesson,” says Judy Lisi. “If people aren’t taking classes here yet, we hope they will start this year. We envision a future where all people in the Tampa Bay area feel they have a stake in the Patel Conservatory and have a home here to take performing arts classes, or receive pre-professional training from our talented and generous instructors. We’re accessible, we’re affordable and we know that the performing arts have the power to change lives. We’ve had a remarkable first decade, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.” M


The Patel Conservatory offers classes in music, dance and theater from pre-K to adult — ranging from individual to pre-professional curriculum tracks. If you are interested in enrolling or getting more information, visit


Photos:  “Dancer” & “Judy Lisi” by Rob Harris Productions; “Patel Conservatory Kids on Stage” by Soho Images