SUN CITY CENTER — A comedic illusionist, Russian pianist and prolific poet are just three of the artists performing at the SouthShore Arts Council's free arts expo Saturday.
SouthShore Arts Council president Chuck Wirick said the expo at the Kings Point Borini Theatre will kick off the council's involvement in the performing arts. Though the organization was established to honor all of the arts, Wirick said that most of its programs have been visual.
This is the first year of the expo, he said, but the group wants to make it an annual event. Wirick said the council plans to organize programs that include a wide range of art forms.
Dancers from the Brandon School of Dance Arts will glide across the stage in ballet, contemporary, lyrical and jazz numbers. Head ballet faculty member Cory-Jeanne Houck-Cox said the students range in age and experience levels, from younger intermediate students to advanced dancers about to leave for top-tier summer programs. The Brandon dancers perform throughout the state, spinning and leaping and floating across stages at Walt Disney World, the Florida State Fair and the Florida Strawberry Festival.
"It's an incredible opportunity," Houck-Cox said. "The arts council represents all of the arts, and it's an opportunity for students to perform in a different community."
The expo agenda also includes opera singers Clint Shepherd and Victoria Pelagia, internationally acclaimed pianist Eleanora Lvov and poet Peter Klappert, who will read from his book The Idiot Princess of the Last Dynasty.
The Pelican Players, an all-ages community theater group from Sun City Center, will perform a one-act play in the afternoon.
Arts council board member Melanie Hubbard described magician Nathan Coe Marsh's act as "light, clean comedy." He's like a charming David Copperfield, she said.
This is the first time Marsh's theater show will be free and open to the public, he said. Don't think magic is art?
"It's unconventional, yes," Marsh said. "Magic is unique in the kind of experience it provides."
Sitting spellbound at a magic show, he said, provides an aesthetic experience similar to soaking in a ballet or opera.
Hubbard hopes expo visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the performances.
"You might think you don't like ballet, but wait until you see these kids," Hubbard said. "Bring an open mind, and have fun."