Dance Teachers and Choreographers Pat Ross and Kelly Burnette Join the Club

Dance Teachers and Choreographers Pat Ross and Kelly Burnette Join the Club

Many may know them as the heart of dance instruction at the Manatee School for the Arts for the past several decades, but now Pat Ross and Kelly Burnette are teaming up to produce Kelly Burnette's one-woman show, Kelly and Friends Stepping Through Time, to be performed on Sunday, August 8 at 4:00 p.m. at the Music Compound at 1751 Cattlemen Rd in Sarasota.
Once co-workers and now "director and actor," this team has hit a homerun!

Hear their stories of what dance means to them, how it can change lives for students, the importance of performing arts education in our society, and the wonderful creation of this one-woman show on this week's episode of the Suncoast Culture Club.
Come along and join the club!

• Manatee School for the Arts Website & Facebook Page & Instagram & YouTube

• Music Compound Website & Facebook & Instagram

• Royal Academy of Dance Website & Facebook & Instagram & Twitter & YouTube

State College of Florida Music Program Website & Facebook & Instagram

• SCF Theatre Program Website & Facebook Page & Instagram

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Kelly Burnette:  I am thrilled today to introduce you to my long-time friend, Pat Ross, and welcome her to the Suncoast Culture Club. 

Pat Ross: Hi, 

Kelly Burnette: there she is. Welcome. Hey, so we are here to talk about a few things, but for those of you who are not lucky enough to have known Pat for more than 20 years like myself, I'm going to get her to give you like a cliff notes version of what got her started in show business and what got her here to Florida and so forth.  So Pat, tell us a little bit about how you got started being a director, choreographer educator here and then we'll get into what we're here to talk about today. So hit it. Welcome Pat. 

Pat Ross: Oh, Hey. I think most of us dancers can say that the dance studio saved our lives. 

Kelly Burnette: Absolutely.

Pat Ross: And I was lucky to have that experience. My dance teacher had me start out filling the pop machine. I was promoted to cleaning the bathrooms  she also taught me to teach. So I was able to teach, kids and grow up there. She encouraged all of us to   prepare for a professional outlet. And, I did that. And so I spent several years. Trucking the trip from Pittsburgh to New York City,  for auditions, et cetera. I made it through lots of auditions, which is valuable information to my students, but never was really cast in that stinking Broadway show. But I value that time and, all of those lessons about my. Third trip to New York. I think I lasted there few months and ran out of money and I came home and decided to marry the love of my life and the amazing Ross' family who drastically changed my trajectory. 

Kelly Burnette: Shout out to Mike and the Ross's. Thank you. 

Pat Ross: And P S we're going to be married 50 years in November. I think it was a good choice. Absolutely. Mike was working his way up the corporate ladder though, and we moved quite a bit, which I loved. I got to work in New Jersey Chicago. We spent six years in Nashville where I was in a tour of Hair spelled there as a higher dancer and So my career continued as much as you can do when you're a mom and et cetera. So Mike's job brought us to Florida and  when we would move all 11 times, I would walk into a dance studio to take a ballet class. And after my second class, somebody invariably would tap me on the shoulder and say, Hey, can you teach for me next Tuesday? And then I would end up teaching there. I think I was a born teacher. And so when we moved here, I decided it was time. I thought I knew everything about running a studio. And so I opened my own studio. After being in business for about a month, I was in the mall and somebody pointed out Cheryl Cardi to me and I walked over and tapped her on the shoulder and said, are you the infamous Ms. Cardi? And we have been fast friends ever since directing choreographing producing dances school shows  we networked as much as we possibly could. And then Cheryl and Dr. Jones opened Manatee School for the Arts. And eventually we all ended up there, which was a very good thing. think the other remarkable fact in my little cliff notes is that  my oldest daughter is an attorney. My middle daughter has two degrees in music and wrote a symphony that was played by the Florida Orchestra, but she is her own  licensed contractor and has a construction business. And my youngest daughter is autistic and has many challenges, but did manage to graduate from high school at age 21. And at that point, Dr. Jones was encouraging us to get our degrees.  So I came home and announced at age 50 that I was going to college. And after they all got off the floor laughing. They were like really? So I did go to college. Thankfully I had that great Eckerd Pell program. I know a lot of people took advantage of, it was a great thing. It enabled you to take some of your life experience and turn it into college credit. And I graduated in three and a half years with honors and became a certified teacher in Florida. So I've been teaching, directing, and choreograph being here for the last. So many years seems like yesterday. 

Kelly Burnette: Exactly

Pat Ross: which point Cheryl and I ran into the amazing Kelly Burnette. And she came in to MSA like an, asteroid and enlightened us on all the things we didn't know about academia. And it proved to be such a great, great experience for me. And I know for Cheryl too, but I knew how to teach. I know how to dance, I know how to perform, but how to turn all those things into a lesson plan and a curriculum, 

Kelly Burnette: right.

Pat Ross: That actually accomplishes what you set out to. Kelly beat that into our heads and helped us in no short order to turn the department around. And she, and Cheryl did an amazing job to get it together. And Kelly continues to lead the troops 

Kelly Burnette: Well, all kidding aside, Pat, I think a couple of, there are many remarkable things about the tale, but I think one that maybe our listeners are not always aware of. A lot of times in the dance world  it's often a very cutthroat, competitive, nasty kind of business. Many times studio owners are trying to undermine, you know, their colleagues or their quote unquote stealing or poaching students from each other and so forth. And one of the things that I've always admired about both you and Cheryl is that that's never been the nature of your relationship. On the contrary, you realize that it's far more intelligent as well as to me, what part of the whole purpose of being in the performing arts is which is collaboration and comradery and supporting your fellow performers and actors and so forth. Y'all have always done that. You have always not just been friends, but been working colleagues. Made the community better. And anybody who's been in this community for a long time, probably remembers Dance Space or remembers Cheryl Cardi Academy. And I know from personal experience, how many of your students not just went on to become professional dancers and casting directors and all these things,  which they certainly did, but more importantly, positive contributing members to society. So I think you've paid your teacher back in spades. I know you. As we all do, you know, bless her heart. She's dancing and have it now, but we all send our love, but you have paid her back in the only way you can, which is passing on what you knew to your students. So that's number one. Number two is you were the one who always really explained it to me in a way that I'd never thought of before, as  we're in the trenches, like literally digging the foundations for a whole new thing for many years, you know Manatee School for the Arts started back in 1998 in Palmetto.  I didn't know how to put together a department or anything like that, but you always explained so clearly about that's what it takes. It takes all of that knowledge coming together from you and Cheryl, both in terms of being, not just studio owners, but business people, because I certainly, that's not my skillset at all. And so taking all of those things that you've learned from many, many years of like Cheryl used to say, you have to train the parents as well as the students. Absolutely true. You know, I used to be appalled at the way people would behave  in the house, in our early shows, but it's because they didn't know how to behave because they had not really been to live dance shows before and the culture and the behavior of it is so different than going to a sporting event or something of that nature. So it took you often to.  Focus in the microscope so that even I could understand what it was we really were doing and what we had to do. And then the third, I think, remarkable thing, you mentioned going back to school in your fifties and at that time, you and Cheryl, and  Pam Calender, who was a teacher at our school, all three of you went back to school in your fifties because dancers, who've gone straight to New York they were dancing in their twenties. They weren't necessarily attending college. And so that was just a different aspect. It's a little bit different today.  In America,  the dance program was  probably 30 years behind for awhile that it, it used to be part of the PE programs in many schools. I know, at OU that's what it was. But then eventually  they realized it was a fine art and needed to be part of the fine arts programs . So it's taken a while for dance in America to kind of achieve the same cachet, if you will. In the academic world.  But, leave it to Pat Ross to always lay it on the line. And he explained things extremely clearly about this is what you have to do.  For our end goal. I should also mention that for many years, both at our studio and at MSA, Pat was doing testing for RAD, which is the Royal Academy of Dance, which is a very famous school in London. And it's considered to be one of the most highly respected,  tests that you can take in the dance world. And she did that for many years and it entailed a live pianist, which is something we're going to talk about a little bit later that that's a topic near and dear to her heart, for sure. And training the kids in very exacting, very specific styles  and combos and so forth. And then they would test in front of often somebody who was flown over from England  to test them.  So Pat, now that you've been here these many years, and you're here with your beautiful daughters and your handsome husband, Mike. One of the things that I think has been really important as you have injected yourself into the community in multiple ways, you mentioned your daughter, Chelsea. And I remember for years we would do,  fundraisers out on the island and stuff for her school and everything. I know you had to fight very hard. I think things have come a long way since then. But unfortunately in the early days, I think it was harder for kids that had some challenges, you know, that there, had to be somebody to advocate. And I always admired that. You're such an advocate for Chelsea. To get her education as she deserves. And I remember we would put on all kinds of fun shows out there  like little kind of mini cabaret shows and everything. So you've taken all these life experiences and all these skillsets and Pat, besides being a, director and choreographer and teacher  I can't remember my exact quote, but I remember one time I said something to the effect of pack and take like a stick and some material and some glitter or something like that, throw it all together. And somehow magically there's like a fabulous costume and some props, and I don't know how she does it. And for many years she was also our thespian sponsor at MSA. So for a number of years, she was taking kids to regularly to stay competition up in Tampa and so forth. So.  As you've been thinking about all these, many years of experiences, what would you say is the thing that you're the most proud of that you've achieved with all of these different ways that you've kind of contributed and giving back to our community? Cause  if you don't know somebody who trained at Pat's studio or had her as a teacher or something like that, my guess is you haven't been in the community very long because chances are, it's like three degrees of separation as they say. So what, what would you say brings you the most pride when you look back on this long and illustrious?

Pat Ross: Well, I think education, I mean, it it's key and I think at Manatee School for the Arts. We have a special responsibility, as you said, to help bring the parents into the world of the arts, because Nutcraker? What's that

Kelly Burnette:  right. 

Pat Ross: They are so busy providing for their families, that they have never been to a Nutcracker or any sort of Broadway show in Tampa. So think that opening up that world to those kids enlightens their parents. And I spent three years teaching at Bayshore High too. And I actually started the dance department there and those kids came into it really kicking and screaming like what? 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: Yeah. When I left and went to MSA, they would call me and say, we missed the Motown warmup and things that you, you don't know how you're going to impact those kids and what they're going to carry forward. And I think that opportunity. To be able to be not just a dance teacher, but really you're part of their family. And at MSA, we had lots of our students from sixth grade through 12th grade and beyond. And it's, very rewarding.  I always say that when I had my first daughter,  I say she stood up in the playpen and said, may I please have a cookie? And I thought I was a fantastic parent. My middle daughter. Who's very creative.  She didn't need to impress anybody with her skills. And then I had Chelsea who brought me back to the real world into knowing that I knew nothing. Chelsea taught us all many things. Number one,  she taught me the power of a teacher when a good, special ed teacher shout out to Bonnie Pinkerton came into Chelsea's life. Our lives changed. She gave us so many tools. So I was a teacher at that point and I was then questioning myself. Do I make this kind of difference in a student's life? And I don't know, but I thought, what are the ways to solidify that was to get my RAD certification? Because I tell the dance students dancing is like reading, you know, 12 steps. You could make up 4 million stories with those 12 steps, 

Kelly Burnette: right?

Pat Ross: But each year, are you learning something new? Are you progressing? 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: So that's why I did the RAD testing. I was really testing my ability to move those kids every year from point a to point B and some years I was more successful than others, but you know, we all remember Bobby Millhouse. I did the grade six exam. And any of you, ballet teachers know how hard that is with a group of kids at MSA. And in my class, there was a tall, thin, mostly white boy with so much potential. And there was African-American Bobby Millhouse, whose feet looked like two bricks. And I thought, oh no. And they all made it through the syllabus. But Bobby and three other girls agreed to try to do the exam and they passed and Bobby passed highly recommended of course scores. Yeah. So I think,  measuring your goals, that's a big, big word in everybody's field is important. Set a goal and achieve it and measure your progress. And I think that dealing with Chelsea also helped Sasha. I ended up practically suing Manatee county, trying to get a reading program here and. They didn't bring the program to Manatee county, but they sent Chelsea to the program in Miami for 12 weeks. And at the end of 12 weeks, she bought her first chapter book. It was a fourth grade chapter book and she was 17, but it was huge. And during that time, Sasha was in law school. She did a lot of the pro bono work  to make that happen. 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross:  So Chelsea kind of pushed us all along and made me a much better teacher, director and choreographer. Now I can clearly look in any room and I can identify all learning styles.

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: And they are something. All good teachers need to know. Not everybody learns the same way. 

Kelly Burnette: Absolutely. And if I didn't believe in that philosophy before it got to MSA, I certainly believe in it now. And it's something even here at SCF, it's something that. Address because sometimes, and you, and I've talked about this even recently about the project we're going to talk about here in a little bit. And I said to you, I'm a kinesthetic learner. I need to, you know, so it's still true for all of us, even as adults. And you've mentioned that,  one of the things that drives you and I think certainly all dancers, but I think all creative people is that notion of constantly looking over the horizon. What can I accomplish next What goal can I set next? And I think that's what keeps us going. And that,  kind of brings us to the present time. Because even though technically you are retired and I am doing air quotes listeners, because that's kind of a joke to say that word with Pat. But even though she is quote unquote retired from MSA and from full-time work, which is also a joke because Pat's version of full-time is very different than a normal humans, because I don't think she sleeps that much. Let's put it that way, but she's,  been pushing herself in other directions recently. So I know that Robyn just recently did a wonderful Suncoast podcast with Jenny, from the Music Compound. But in case some of our listeners didn't hear that. Tell us a little bit about what you've just finished up and what that venues like, because that kind of leads us into our,  project. We want to plug today. So tell us a little bit about that experience. 

Pat Ross: Well,  I think for me, and probably for many of us having nothing to do is really not an option. And if COVID didn't hammer that home, I don't know what a a lot of people are surprised that Mike and I are married 50 years, but more people are surprised that we're still speaking after. Cause I'm usually never home. And I was home. So in my quest for looking for something to do Alyssa Martin, one of the MSA famous students, Delaney's, mom, Was working at the Music Compound. And she kept saying to me, you need to come down here. You need to come down there. Well, this summer I made it there and I am so proud and happy to say I met Jenny, Townsend who is really another force to be reckoned with. She's got many irons in the fire and the community, but the Music Compound is kind of a unique setting  she's built. I think it's 10 soundproof rooms for students to take private music lessons. And that was going well. So she took over the space behind her, which many people would look at as a warehouse. But those of us who have been there call it a black box 

Kelly Burnette: that's right. 

Pat Ross: And they built it a stage and a pretty half decent sound system. And I was really, really impressed with her desire to really reach out into the community. She is a person who. Celebrates all learning styles and that, you know, college may not be for everybody.

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: But that doesn't mean that you don't want to come in every other day or every day and take a lesson on your instrument. 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: And those opportunities are available there. So if you're looking for a place as an adult, as a child, as a parent to investigate some music lessons, check out their website, it's,  amazing. And I worked a couple of camps this summer. She did some unique camps and. They're  very big on a little end game performance. So they have a stage and the parents come in to watch. It's only 15 minutes, but students have an expected goal. You are expected to attend this camp and achieve something. And  it's fun.  One of the things about Kelly that I love to talk about in my classes at MSA, because we have a lot of students who. Have no right. Even contemplating the performing arts. And yet, as we know that little seed is in there and it's going to grow no matter what. And   they're looking in the mirror and they're saying, oh my God, I can't try out for that. I don't look like that. I can't do this. And I always say, you guys take a walk past Ms. Kelly Burnette's room said she's a little, a little bombshell. And there was no real reason why she is a successful professional equity performer. Because back in our day, the first thing they said was, are you five, seven? 

Kelly Burnette: Right?

Pat Ross: Do you weigh 110? 

Kelly Burnette: Sad, but true, Yeah. 

Pat Ross: And Kelly broke all those barriers and. It's great. When the kids actually see that with their own eyes and then they experience Kelly's enthusiasm and charisma and drive. And they say, you know, Maybe I can.

Kelly Burnette: I hope that's true. And that,  always has touched me, Pat, that that's something that you have used as a,  teachable moment. And,  I hope that that's true. But shout out to all of our kids because we certainly know from personal experience in our own lives that teachers can literally change people's lives. So that makes my heart happy. Well, that kind of brings us to why we're here today.  You talked about your three beautiful daughters. I do want to give a shout out to mine, even though I know this will probably air about a week from now, today is actually my beautiful daughter, Alexis 14th birthday. So I wanted to say happy birthday to her. And you've also mentioned our fabulous friend, Cheryl Cardi, several times. She is a former Rockette and founded the dance department at MSA. And she has been in this community like Pat for many, many years, and also ran her Cardi Academy Studio for many years.  This is another one of my fabulous friends that I think has been a humongous influence on many people in this area, in terms of going into the arts, again, not always necessarily professionally, but learning the tricks of the trade and the,  commitment that it takes and the focus and the drive and the discipline and all these other qualities that we know are tantamount to being successful in this business. And so she, and I can't remember why, but we were coming back over the alley from Miami. I think we'd gone to, you know, a workshop or a show or something over there. And she and I were driving back across the alley and this was more than 20 years ago. And we started talking about doing a one woman show for me. And we were talking about it pretty seriously, and we'd even jotted down some ideas and some song ideas and stuff like that. And, you know, it was always kind of in our minds, but, life gets busy. We   were pretty busy with MSA and all of our professional careers, all of us still direct, and choreograph professionally  in the area. And so it was something that we'd kind of put on the back burner, but yeah. As Pat said, I think COVID has taught all of us that, we need to find our own path. We need to find ways to challenge ourselves,  mentally and creatively. And actually that's one of the reasons that Robyn started this podcast in the first place was to try to not just support the arts, but also help to keep the arts going during this difficult time. And  now we're sort of just barely starting to come back. Things are starting to open up a little bit. People are starting to be allowed to come to see shows live. Maybe it's still socially distanced or,  a smaller number or whatever. And people can  wear masks or not wear masks because they choose,  many more people are vaccinated, but it, started to occur to me that,  I'm certainly not getting any younger and it was time to do something about it. So in starting to talk about this again, with Cheryl, she said to me, I think you should ask Pat Ross to direct it. And I was like, that's a fantastic idea. Why didn't I think of that? You know, but I kind of felt like Cheryl had first write a refusal, but as she always does, Cheryl always manages to get to the heart of the matter and make the right choice. And so she said, Nope, I think Pat should do it. So luckily for me, Pat has agreed. So one of the things we're here to talk about today is my show that she lovingly first called the Greatest Show on Earth, which we decided not to go with that. I was like, just what my ego needs. I could decide whether that was going to be a self fulfilling prophecy or it was going to kill it at birth. So we decided to go with something a little different. So we are working on a show currently called Kelly and Friends Stepping Through Time, and it will be performed at the Music Compound. And I'm going to let Pat tell you a little bit more about the details of it as far as when and. The time and where you can get tickets and all that kind of stuff. But I am super excited. We were literally up very late last night, like FaceTiming with each other, working on the script and stuff. Cause because Pat, I keep the same, not bankers hours. So Pat, tell us a little bit about this show and when and where the listeners can,  see it and what they can do to get there.

Pat Ross: Well, one of my other passions in life is cooking. So through COVID I was going crazy, not being able to see anyone. So I started making these little like breakfast out on my Lanai, socially distanced, of course. And Cheryl had Kelly dropped by the Ross Cafe and we talked through the show and I still believe that Cheryl was trying to be kind and give me something else to do. And  pass, the Baton to take on the director chair of this show, but I'm happy,   to do it. If you've not seen Kelly Burnette inaction, she's something else. I was just talking about the show to my sister-in-law, who was Kelly's number two fans. And she was explaining to her daughter who Kelly was. And she said that one of the times, her mother, who is aunt Mare's mom, who I think was in her mid eighties at the time, came to town. And so we took her to the Golden Apple of course, where Kelly happened to be performing in Cats. And although Kelly was  already at Mare's favorite aunt Mare tells the story of Graham, Sukel saying on the way home, who is that little one? She's my favorite cat. Yeah.

Kelly Burnette: So bless you, Graham. 

Pat Ross: She is,  a force, as we all said, and I think she's at a time in her life, Cheryl, and I feel like that you know, she's,  thinking, what am I doing here? You know, your kids start to get older and they don't need you every minute of every day work becomes work. And these MSA performances and showcases  there are something else and we didn't want her to lose. Track of that  little performer Kelly and how she can light up the stage. So that's how the show was born. 

Kelly Burnette: Well, thank you. Well, as Cheryl said, it's kind of turning out to be a bit of a musical memoir, if you will. And I think that's a really good way to put it. And I actually also wanted to include some of the fun, crazy theater tales that we all have. We all have our little war stories about it. And you talking about Graham makes me think, of course she was talking about Cats at the Golden Apple. And one of the funny things that happened there, I was actually the equity deputy on that show, which basically means it's my job to take, any concerns or anything from the equity members of the production to equity in New York, if there, any kind of issues. And if you're familiar with the show Cats, there's pyro, meaning things blow up in it. And some people were concerned about it and the Turoffs assured me, no, no, everything's fine. We've been trained in this. It's all fine. So naturally we all jinxed ourselves and like the next night, the pyro caught some burlap on stage on fire. Like it literally caught on fire, and I only laugh because obviously everybody was fine, but what's funny about it is I happened to be the one cat that was up on the highest level of the stage and the band was on the stage with us. So it was really loud and I'm trying my hardest to yell and get everybody's attention out of character to let them know that there's this fire happening on stage that nobody else, but myself apparently has noticed yet, but nobody could hear me. And so then finally,  as the fire starts to spread, then people become aware and I'll never forget, Eric Burkle bless his heart. prances out there in his cat uniform with the fire extinguisher and started spraying the fire. Of course, we did have to evacuate the theater and it was hysterical because all of us in our cat costume, full costumes and makeup are out there like posing with the firetrucks and taking pictures with people and, you know, bless the audience.  We were pretty close to the end of the show. So once they got the big fans into clear all the smoke and everything and everything was fine, obviously the firemen wouldn't have let us back in. Then we got to go in and finish a show and it was really fun, but that's what I mean. It's like, you know, you can't make stuff like that up. And all of us in the performing arts have these crazy, like funny stories. And so that's part of what we're trying to put into the show to just. That love and that comradery and that fun of, this crazy thing that you could never imagine, you can never expect, you can never make up, but then it happens. And then we're all, you know, we all have these funny stories to tell. So, as we've been working on this, , Pat is,  really creating the script and the,   arc of the show based on kind of an outline that I'd sent her because it's turning out to be,  pretty chronological, pretty much kind the life of Kelly and she wisely puts some other folks in the show too. So we want to give some shout outs to them. First of all, our fantastic music director, Mr. William Coleman, who has been a colleague of ours at MSA. But he's also very well known in the community. I know he's currently working on Pippin at MPAC, and he's done many, many other shows both here and over the bridge. And also an Natalia Mach, another good friend of both of ours. I first met Nat at the Golden Apple back in the day. And now she is a fellow teacher at MSA and the theater goes exactly. Exactly. Pat is a big believer in that was true. And then Will's beautiful daughter, Andrea Coleman, who is a, a new young mother herself. And she has been a lovely addition. And she just giggles at me most of the time because she's a fantastic singer and she just laughs at me all the time when I'm like, oh no. 

Pat Ross: And I have seen her in Ain't Misbehavin'. 

Kelly Burnette: Yes, absolutely. And also my beautiful daughter, Alexis, whom I mentioned as well as her good friend, Ella, two students at MSA are appearing. So we have some other, fun surprises. We, we hope that people will come out. Not just people who know me, but people maybe who love the arts or love theater, or would like to support the Music Compounds. Cause that's what we're going to do 

Pat Ross: with travel through time. 

Kelly Burnette: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. A little bit of time traveling. Yeah. So we're doing it on Sunday, August the eighth at the Music Compound, which is on Cattleman Road in Sarasota. And it is a small venue, but it's still large enough that people I think will still feel comfortable. Like if you prefer to kind of stay with your pod of people, so to speak,  we'll have,  separate tables set up. So you should still, I think, feel pretty comfortable being there. It's not,  a very tight enclosed space. I think that people would feel uncomfortable. There's also an outdoor, lovely, outdoor kind of courtyard that people can hang out during intermission and get a little fresh air and so forth. We are also hoping that some of the proceeds especially from sale of,   like snacks and stuff at intermission will go to support scholarships for the Music Compound kids.  That was part of our purpose. But also  we want to help the arts get back on his feet. We want to start bringing back, live shows. Jenny has been supportive. Live musicians. And that's something that's very near and dear to our heart. There's something different about singing with live music  in musicians than there is to singing or dancing with the track. Unfortunately it's become much more and more a part of the biz. And it's something that Pat has taught her kids is something that you have to know how to do. Certainly it happens at like, Busch Gardens, Walt Disney World, and so forth. But we also hope, and I know Robyn would certainly second this, all of us wouldn't be able to do what we do without live music and live musicians. So we,  really want to help Jenny in that,  endeavor as well that we want people to realize that there's just something so special and so different about hearing it live rather than a track, 

Pat Ross: it's such another layer to a performance. 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: And the thing about the Music Compound, I think that is fascinating is a lot of that. Of course are interested in pop and rock.  I don't know any student that doesn't want to be in a rock band, but  they are also including pit musician training, et cetera, and giving. Musicians a chance  to do this, 

Kelly Burnette: right?

Pat Ross: So that's another reason why we want to expand the musical theater outlet at Music Compound.  I'd like to say that tickets will be on sell through the Music Compound websites. Tickets are $20, but I believe there was a discount of $5. If you get your tickets online, obviously then  we don't have to deal with the accounting at the door, et cetera. So get your tickets online. I don't think it's up yet, but it will be up in the next day or so that you could click on that Music Compound blurb and you'll be able to buy your tickets or reserve your tickets. 

Kelly Burnette: Fantastic. And the show is at four o'clock on Sunday, the eighth. So that's,  good news for folks that maybe are attending church earlier in the day, or,  have to work the next day that hopefully it's at a nice time that you can still  have a little bit of time to relax before and after, but hopefully still come and have some fun. And  a few laughs music 

Pat Ross: in Manatee county. I think school starts the next day. 

Kelly Burnette: It does. 

Pat Ross: So it would be, yeah. Last hurrah. Oh, wow. I said music sing with Kelly. 

Kelly Burnette: Exactly. I know it will be for me. And if I know anything about Pat Ross, it's gonna look fabulous. And she just has that magic touch of being able to wave her wand with of course hours and hours of hard work prior to,  

Pat Ross:  My one may have such a COVID

Kelly Burnette: don't say that. So Pat and working with somebody that you've known as long as, as well as myself, do you think that that's harder or easier than working with say a cast of folks that maybe you don't know as well?  

Pat Ross: Can you maybe hold your ears 

Kelly Burnette: covering I'm covering my ears. Listeners, go ahead. 

Pat Ross: It's a challenge. It is a challenge and yeah. I think the first day at that first cafe meeting you know, we were all shouting out ideas for sure. I mean, if we just stuck to my notes of that day the show was four hours a series Kelly, the Series 

Kelly Burnette: TV series. Right? Exactly. 

Pat Ross: And I would be like, no, we're not doing that. Can't do that count. After Kelly left, Cheryl said to me, do you see why you're the person who's directing 

Kelly Burnette: only Pat strong enough to reign me in. 

Pat Ross: I would never be able to look because if you don't know Cheryl she's so. 

Kelly Burnette: The kindest person. Yes.

Pat Ross: And the kids I'll be screaming at my students. And they'll say, can I go to Ms. Carney's room? I just need a little Zen practice on your way back. 

Kelly Burnette: Well, Pat always says to her kids, I wouldn't be yelling if I didn't care about you. So I guess that means she cares about me a great deal cause okay. Okay. I always tell Pat she's my favorite person to fight with. I don't know. She takes that as the compliment that it's intended.

Pat Ross: And I always love to say to actors,  there's one thing you cannot see and that's you 

Kelly Burnette: right.

Pat Ross: Only I could see you. 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: So. 

Kelly Burnette: Maybe you want to listen, 

Pat Ross: maybe you might want to do what I sent us 

Kelly Burnette: crazy though. Now I've been thinking about it cause  were both stubborn  and we also both know what we're doing. And we also both know and love theater and the arts and dance and just the art of storytelling, which is what we're trying to do. 

Pat Ross: I think at like 2:10 last night, I felt like we had met such a good compromise. 

Kelly Burnette: Yeah.

Pat Ross: You know, every day, I always jokingly tell my friend, Mr. Vagelos, two things I don't do is time and money. And I would be saying, well, how about this? Or how does it Kelly would say, well, that's really not the way it happened chronologically. And if we're going to say the word time in the title, so she kept,  me on track on that vision that she had. And  I think my gift, because I love theater so much and because I would never accomplish anything vocally, I admire Kelly's vocal chops so much. And I want to see that in the production. I also want it to be entertaining. 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: I mean, one of my other famous quotes is nobody likes a solo, but your mother and unless you're Barbara, Streisand's right. I'm afraid. That's something you should consider either make your solo short or practice a lot because in order for it to be entertaining, it must be well done. Tell a story. 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: And my critique is give me the goosebumps and. Kelly pretty much can do that almost everytime. 

Kelly Burnette: Well. I think that's the key  because,  even though I know to some listeners, you may think, well, if you're doing a one woman show, you must have  a pretty healthy ego there, you know? And I, and I think exactly, and I think I do, but.  This has been an interesting part of the process is I've needed, Pat's strength to like shore me up and everything, because it is a challenge and like most performers right now, unfortunately we're all pretty rusty because we've all been put on hold, whether we wanted to or not. And in my case,  I've been doing  more directing and choreographing in recent years rather than performing, but I do still love it and I still want to do it. And so I'm grateful because  whether it's a paying gig or not, people are giving a lot of their time and effort and,  blood, sweat, and tears, and,  Pat does that all the time for every project. But I think there is a special challenge when, you know, somebody so well. And for many of the years that we're talking about you were in my life and you experienced it and you were there. But then for the first half, you know, And so even I've had to go back and ask my mom some,  questions about certain things that I'd forgotten, but  it has been fascinating because one of the things that Pat brought up from a storytelling aspect is. You've got to have some kind of a hook, if you will, and an arc to it, what makes it different? What makes it interesting? What makes it unique?  And when you're talking about yourself, your answer is kind of both. It's like, well, of course it was interesting, you know, you lived it, but then on the other hand, it can be a little bit intimidating. If you feel like you're tooting your horn, or,  speaking too highly of yourself  so it's been fascinating because. To me, Pat has been like a sculptor that  like, maybe  the marble was there.  The idea of it was there and, Cheryl and I hashed out some things many years ago, but then I think Pat's been kind of taking her tool and sometimes it's a sharp tool and that's okay. You know, sometimes it hurts and just like shave it down, shave it down,  until you reveal, hopefully like Michelangelo used to say reveal what was already in the marble, but you need that artist's eye to kind of figure out,  okay, this can stay. This needs to go, oh, that's a lovely defect if you will, or whatever, cracking the marble. But this one, I think maybe we need to patch over a little bit  so it's,  been a fascinating process to work on. 

Pat Ross: I think one of the other remarkable things about Kelly's life that she touches on in the show that you need to come and see I grew up without a father, so Kelly's dad is near and dear to all of us in the dance department, but you call him the Colonel. So he is not only a father. He was a true,   leader in so many ways. And unfortunately that took him away from his family. And,  we always are so thankful to our veterans for their service. And yet we need to remember that their families are serving too. And Kelly, grew up without a dad for much of that time. And,  yet her dad was such a strong character in her life and her mom that. I think that's also what drives her to be the best that she can be at what she does. She served our country in this way, by singing and dancing and educating,  along the way. And I think that's a real unique part of your story that she ended up being,  the show biz, gypsy, which some people think is. Luxurious it's far from it. 

Kelly Burnette: Glamorous. Yeah. 

Pat Ross: But she was also an army brat. 

Kelly Burnette: Right.

Pat Ross: And traveled a good deal of her life. That way, attending a lot of schools, et cetera. So she overcame a lot and. Kept singing. And I'm really proud of her. 

Kelly Burnette: Thank you. Bless my dad and my mom  the show is dedicated to both of them. And my dad started the JRTC program Mantee county and taught himself at Bayshore for many years. Pat mentioned she taught there too and happily, and luckily for me, they're both doing great and they plan to be there. And  we hope you will be there too. But as we  wrap it up, Pat, first of all, I just want to say thank you because this literally is a dream coming true. You know, like this is literally something I've been thinking about for over 20 years. And I was talking to some friends about it recently, and I'm not somebody that I would say.  Nervous or anxious or scared too easily. It's kind of an unusual feeling or emotion for me. My,  infamous quote with Pat one time is I don't do overwhelmed. Like that was my she's laughing, but you know, it's just not something that I normally feel, but I will say that  it's revealing, it's definitely something that I've been nervous about, but I'm also really excited. And most importantly, I know I'm in the best hands. I know that,  Pat and Will are pros. They,  would never allow me to step on the stage.  If everything was going to suck or  not be good or sound good or look good. And so there's a,  comfort and a trust in that, that you feel it's almost like you're in a hammock, you know? Yeah. You can feel the hammock swinging in the wind and it can be nerve wracking, but you also know that people  got your back,  and to me, that's what makes being a showbiz person, somewhat similar to being a soldier that you have that sense of comradery.  It may not be life or death, but you definitely go through a lot together. It's definitely blood sugars, right? Yeah. Blood, sweat, and tears. And I've always said that I think being an army brat helped to prepare me for this lifestyle better than anything else could have. So,  as we sign off Pat, and you're thinking about this crazy year that we're all coming out of do you have any last thoughts or words of wisdom. In the greater sense. Yes. We want people to come see our show. We want,  them to be there on the eighth. We want them to come support,  Jenny and the Music Compound and live music and the arts and all that in Manatee and Sarasota counties. But what are your bigger thoughts as far as moving forward from this very difficult time for the world? Not just our country in the arts, what do you think are some of the things we need to think about as we move forward? 

Pat Ross: Well,  I forgot to say the one thing about Kelly brought up Alexis and well, Kelly is bold and  I'm not going to say that's an ego. It's more her courage that is driving her to do this, but she is the extreme opposite of a stage mother. 

Kelly Burnette: Thank you. 

Pat Ross: We have drafted Alexis into doing a lot of things and I know that deep in her heart. She wants to do it. She's  always in the background,  it, a rehearsal this weekend, I asked them to do something in Age of Aquarius and she literally put her hand on her hip and looked at us and he said, I'm not doing, not disrespectful, 

Kelly Burnette: not disrespectfully, but in a teenager way 

Pat Ross: In that true artist, by the way, I'll do something for you guys. But, 

Kelly Burnette: But not everything. There you go 

Pat Ross: Through all of her professionalism and her antics. I would say that Kelly's done. She has not forced that on  any of her students. And that's, that's what makes it,  fun that she doesn't just talk the talk, you know, go ahead. Walk in those shoes, like to, although they're a little 

Kelly Burnette: My tiny size 5's. I don't know.  We all agree that. Learning through dance, certainly in the arts is something that makes you a better person. It's not just that it makes you a better performer, a  better pro. And those things are important too. And we certainly take them seriously, but yeah, better person. 

Pat Ross: So as far as the future, I have no answers, but I feel like COVID has made a lot of good things come to light. I think people realize how hard teachers work and how important it is. Yeah. And I think parents have actually enjoyed being in the room with their kids, seeing  what they're expected to do all day. Every day, we may forget what school was like, and it is certainly different today than it was then. So I think that's a positive of the COVID. I hope that schools are going to get back to normal. Whatever normal is, I think that's gone. But as far as the arts go, I keep telling, I have lots of students who had just obtained contracts or,  were just on their way to New York or LA and Have had this huge pause, but I keep telling them that the arts has a way of coming back with a vengeance and we're starting to see,  it smolder 

Kelly Burnette: for sure.

Pat Ross: I just hope that we're able to support that  both with our,  money. Yeah. Money's important. But even more critical is time. 

Kelly Burnette: Yeah.

Pat Ross: Give your time to volunteering or. Going be part of an audience  be there. We got to nurture,   the arts. It's so important. 

Kelly Burnette: Absolutely. And you and I are certainly two examples of this, but we could name hundreds of not thousands of kids   one of the things Pat very kindly said some things about, me that she's used as teachable moments with,  her kids, but I've done the same in reverse because  Pat is proof that you can come from a difficult background. You can come from, less than ideal circumstances or less than ideal socioeconomic circumstances  but if you have the grit, if you have the drive, if you have the work ethic, if you are tough enough and willing to work your booty off, then you can still be successful.  And isn't that part of what the American dream is supposed to be.  So I think that is a really important part of this tale to that.  It does take a village. It takes many people coming together and blending their expertise and their knowledge and their work and also their trust. And to me, quite honestly, here I go, I'm going to be philosophical brace yourselves, but I think it's true. I mean, this sincerely that to me, working on the show has been like a microcosm,  of what it could be or what it should be out in the larger world that it takes, not just one person, but it takes all of us putting our heads together. It takes all of us talking it out and sometimes it's painful and sometimes we don't agree, but we still are trying to work towards a common goal. And so therefore we,  shouldn't have to listen to each other. And then as you said, It may be painful. Sometimes you may have to strip away some things that you wanted or that you definitely don't want  but if you can come to that meeting in the minds in the middle, then I think,  the show in, the bottom part of the metaphor is the better for it. But in the larger sense, , I hope that we'll all be able to move forward with,  more listening and more collaboration and more kindness and more empathy that we can try to work together towards,  hopefully a better tomorrow because. That's one thing about being a teacher that you learn real fast is that if you're not doing that, then what are you doing? Because the kids,  need us so much. And we've been very blessed that we've had, we mentioned Bobby Millhouse. We're both still in touch with him. He's very successfully out in LA with his wife and his beautiful baby that we both claim as a honorary grand baby. You know, and that's the thing. When you, as pat mentioned, we often taught kids from six through 12th grade, maybe every year. And then I often teach them here at SCF. I just had some kids here in my class this last semester who knew Pat from Lakewood Ranch  she's done there with Roxanne Caravan. So,  the six degrees of separation thing is for real, certainly in the world of the arts. And so I feel very blessed to have some of the best in the business, helping me to achieve this dream. But I hope that it will also be, as Pat said, just the beginning of the,  new Dawn, the new tomorrow that we see the arts coming to bounce back and be stronger. 

Pat Ross: That's one thing we're,  responsible for it MSA with a good percentage of kids who have a hard time getting to school every day. And a lot of times kids will say, Hey, I only come on dance day and,  things like that. But  I did grow up with not very many advantages, including not having a dad and an alcoholic stepdad and I could go on, but I will always look at the kids and say, you see my CRV and you see my Starbucks and you think I got it 

Kelly Burnette: right.

Pat Ross: But I'm here to tell you, there's only one ticket for you to get out of here. And that's education 

Kelly Burnette: absolutely

Pat Ross: make the most of your time here. And. It will help you. 

Kelly Burnette: Amen.

Pat Ross: So if we can, support education in the arts and give these kids even a shot, they're going to be the better for it.  One of our great students, Brian Arellano is about to be an EMT and a fireman.

Kelly Burnette: Yup.

Pat Ross: He was a great actor. Great performer. Dance did 42nd street. And I don't think he would have had the stick to it-ness that he is had to accomplish what he has. He's told me this. He's told us about that. 

Kelly Burnette: Absolutely.

Pat Ross: Those are the gratifying moments. Yes. The arts, 

Kelly Burnette: amen education and the arts, while you can't end on a better note than that. So, folks, we'd like to invite you to come join us for my show, Kelly and Friends Stepping Through Time  occurring on August 8th, at 4:00 PM at the Music Compound down on Cattlemen and Sarasota, as Pat mentioned, you can get tickets through the website. If you want to, if you have any questions  you can contact either Pat or myself. I've,  said it on the air before, but my email is Kelly and we'd be more than happy to help you figure it out. Most likely you'll be able to show up the day of the show and purchase tickets as well. So just in case it doesn't work. 

Pat Ross: Oh, could be a seller. 

Kelly Burnette: That's true. It could be standing room only. You never know. But if you want to come the day of the show, that's, it's a possibility. It is. You always take a risk, but it's a possibility you can still get tickets then, but we're hoping folks are going to start buying them up ahead of time. So we can make sure that we've got the table set up so we can be socially distanced. There will be kind of snacks and things on site. We're hoping to raise some funds that way for Music Compounds, scholarships for those students. But we just want to say  thank you to Robyn Bell. Thank you to Cheryl Cardi. Thanks to will Coleman and Italia Mach and Andrea Coleman for working with us as well as my daughter Lexus and Ella. We are hoping that you will come join us and have some fun, , have a few laughs here's some songs maybe sing along with us a couple of times, but we are delighted to be able to present this. And that's been part of our,  journey through COVID too, is having something positive to focus our attentions on. I know for me, and I think for most creative people that is really a must to find something, to put your energy and your focus into and your love. So I'm grateful that they've been a part of this journey for me. And I look forward to working with Pat many, many more times. She has been supportive of many of the things we've done here at SCF, and she continues to work professionally in the community. So I'm sure you will see and hear of her. I know Robyn's already posted some of the information on our website for Suncoast. So check that out as well. But Pat, we'd like to say welcome to the club. Thank you so much for everything and. Listeners, we hope you enjoyed it, and we hope to see you soon. 

Pat Ross: And thank you for having me, 

Kelly Burnette: my pleasure, 

Pat Ross: my first podcast. 

Kelly Burnette: Exactly. There's something new every day. I know. So thank you folks. We appreciate it. Y'all take care out there. Get vaccinated, stay safe. And we hope to see you on the eighth and thank you for supporting the arts and education  on the Suncoast. Y'all have a great day. Take care. Bye bye.