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A spotlight on the soloists

A soloist-filled concert of classical music and dance should enthrall symphonic music lovers at Saturday's performance of the Central Florida Symphony.

Symphony director Dr. James Plondke said the combination of the symphony with the Marion Performing Ballet and invited guest dancers will bring a one-of-a-kind classical music presentation to Citrus County.

Plondke is in his third year as conductor and music director of the Central Florida Symphony Orchestra. He is also currently the conductor and music director of the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and a music professor at Valdosta State University. He called the ballet troupe one of the region's outstanding cultural resources.

The Central Florida Symphony Orchestra, now in its 27th season, is a fully professional orchestra composed of regional musicians. This is the third of the four regular concerts scheduled this season in Citrus County.

The symphony will feature its own violin soloists, Matson Topper and Alicja Usarek.

Selections will include Weber's Invitation to the Dance; Bach's Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins and Orchestra, in which the violin soloists will be featured. Also included will be Prokofiev's Romeo at Juliet's Before Parting and Juliet Alone from Romeo and Juliet, as well as various Sousa marches choreographed as Stars and Stripes. Concluding the concert will be Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Act II.

The title piece, Invitation to the Dance, is a waltzlike dance, originally composed by Weber for solo piano but later reorchestrated for a symphony. The opening is performed by a cellist and the woodwinds, as the two dancers meet and begin a courtship. The contrasting sections portray the moments leading up to a seduction. When the female dancer accepts the invitation, the couple spin away in a series of waltzes before the dance ends.

The principal soloist dancers, Jessica Roan and Jonathan Tabbert, are invited from the Charleston Ballet Theatre and will perform with members of the Marion Performing Ballet.

Roan was a member of the Utah Ballet Company, receiving a scholarship for dance ability and personal character. She has been featured as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Daisy in The Great Gatsby, Maria in The Nutcracker, Mina in Dracula and Cinderella in Cinderella.

Tabbert completed his ballet training at the School of Hartford Ballet in 1999. During the summers, he has studied at Burklyn Ballet Academy and the American Ballet Theatre.

_ Jorge Sanchez covers Citrus County arts and entertainment and can be reached at 860-7313 Send e-mail to