Songs like “Somebody to Love,” along with other classic hits, will set the stage for ballet dancers in The St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory’s newest show, a Rockin’ Ballet.
Located at 1500 58th St. S, on the same campus as the Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, the performance will be shown on the nights of March 1, 2 and 3.
The performance will feature black and red costumed dancers moving to classic rock favorites by artists like Queen and Aerosmith.
“It’s a great flashback,” said Servy Gallardo, co-founder and artistic director at the conservatory. “It’s fun and you find yourself reminded of things.”
Gallardo, the show chorographer, has been dancing professionally for over 20 years and has trained high-level dancers for over 15 years.
Attendees will be watching the dancers, aged 5 to 18, in a studio larger than the Mahaffey Theater.
“This is the first time we’re doing no classic ballet in a show,” said co-founder Anna Melton. “Usually we’ll do half contemporary, but this is going to be so different.”
A First for Gulfport
In June of 2018, ballet conservatory founders Servy and Allexe Gallardo, along with Anna and Brian Melton had just one day to find a St. Petersburg-based ballet studio before they had to fly back to North Carolina.
The four founders knew they were interested in the St. Petersburg area, and the timing of getting all together in Florida only added constraint to their goal of finding a studio.
“Gulfport is so involved in the arts, I think this is a good addition,” said Gallardo, who started dancing in Venezuela at the age of 15. “This area is a gem; the warm weather reminds me of home.”
With both married couples on a 24-hour-long timer before their plane ride, they resorted to driving around and hunting out “for-rent” properties.
“My husband and I had this idea for a conservatory like eight years ago,” Melton said. “We moved from North Carolina for this place.”
They ended up in Gulfport, in the abandoned gym of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church. The conservatory is not afflicted with the church, but shares the same grounds.
“I peeked in the window, and I just knew this was it,” said Gallardo.
The old gym had railings perfect for curtains, a wraparound upstairs seating area that is now used for parents to come watch practices, and a cafeteria that has since been transformed into a dressing room.
The non-profit studio has been operating for over a year and is currently holding classes for both professional and recreational dancers.
“All these kids, you can see in their eyes they want to learn,” Gallardo said. “Once you do it one time you just want to do it again.”
Starting at age five, student dancers can either take classes and perform in shows, like a Rockin’ Ballet, for fun, or they can join the intensive program that trains performers to eventually make a career out of ballet.
Beginning in June, intermediate and advanced dancers can join the Summer Intensive Program that includes co-ed classes focused on ballet technique, stretching and strengthening, choreography and pointe work.
For now, the conservatory is strictly a non-profit dedicated to bringing the art of ballet to aspiring local dancers, but Gallardo has big plans.
“Eventually, I’d like to start a company in this area,” Gallardo said. “It would be good to give kids that start here a chance to grow. And they don’t have to just be dancers. They can stay in this profession and be costume designers, make-up artists – it’s a lot of possibilities for them.”
For now, the conservatory is focused on growing and developing the young dancers that walk through the doors every week.
“We have a lot of good talent here,” Melton said. “The dancers that come here are going other places eventually.”
See the show at SPBC Blue Theater and The Jonathan & Sarah Bailie Studio St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory, located at 1500 58th St. S.
Friday, March 1: 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 2: 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 3: 3 p.m.
Find tickets at stpeteballetconservatory.com.