Orlando Ballet Artistic Director Robert Hill celebrates a decade on the job

By : Christen Kelley
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After a successful stint as a ballerina, the time finally came for Robert Hill to retire. He then turned his passion for ballet into a new career: teaching it.

In January, Hill will be celebrating his 10-year anniversary as artistic director at the Orlando Ballet company, where he has transformed classic pieces into modern performances anyone can enjoy.

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11.15.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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There are a few things people tend to figure out about me rather quickly, whether they get to know me well or only casually.

The first is that I’m into politics. Voting is rad, even more so when it’s done in the name of equality and every vote is counted. Second, I have a totally normal love and appreciation for (read: obsession with) Disney, particularly “The Little Mermaid.” I mean, how many wonders can one movie hold?

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‘I’m dedicated to keeping the arts alive’: Harriett Lake dies at 96

By : Layla Ferris
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Harriett Lake, a philanthropic lover of Orlando’s arts scene, died July 10. She was 96.

With the establishment of Harriett’s Charitable Trust, Lake has given millions of dollars to organizations that help keep Orlando’s art world alive.

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Orlando Ballet pays a fitting tribute to local Orlando hero Harriet Lake with a Broadway spectacle

By : Billy Manes
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At 3 p.m. on a late Tuesday afternoon watching January fall from the calendar, high kicks and paper top-hats are the name of the buzzing game for the Orlando Ballet.

Nestled in their current home at Loch Haven Neighborhood Center, the members of the ballet corps are sweating out a rehearsal to “One,” the famous crowd pleaser from A Chorus Line, as director Robert Hill does the hand gestures and the shouts of “one, and two and three” from the sidelines. “And stop! Now go!” A disco ball swings overhead.

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Editor’s Desk 2.9.17

By : Billy Manes
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This is how it goes. There is an initial spark of horror – in this case, the abject realization that our country had elected a television and real-estate mogul into its highest office in November – and then come the stages of grief.

It is no hyperbole to state that the election of President Donald Trump has already been a source of anxiety for progressives and people who follow either history or politics. These things happen, we tell ourselves. It will get better, we sigh. Maybe we’ll be safe; maybe Trump does like the LGBTQ community; maybe Vice President Pence has a switch on his back that will allow some kind of social diplomacy between the others and himself. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

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Top 5 Orlando Stories in 2014

By : Staff Report
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Changes at The Center
What didn’t change at The GLBT Center of Central Florida in 2014? In January, it shed the property next door that housed a Chinese restaurant and used the money to help pay debts. Over the summer, The Center saw some personnel changes, with the resignation of five-year executive director Randy Stephens. In September, new ED Terry DeCarlo started and then at a gala event in October, it was announced that a $200,000 renovation will update every portion of The Center’s headquarters, scheduled to be complete by the spring.

Still no GSA at CMS
The fight for a Gay Straight Alliance at Carver Middle School in Lee County kicked off way back in January of 2013, when a bisexual 8th grader fought for her right to a GSA. That student has moved onto high school, but other CMS students picked up the battle and the ACLU continued to push for their right to meet. A lawsuit moved forward in March and in August, attorneys asked for a judgment but as of press time, still no joy for CMS’ LGBT students and allies.

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Watermark’s 2014 Halloween Roundup!

By : Watermark Staff
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It’s that time of year when you get to dust off your costumes, load up on sweets and have loads of scary fun — Halloween! Not sure exactly how to spend your Halloween, or do you want to find out about other festivities happening toward the end of the month? Well, Watermark has you covered.

Here is a roundup of some events happening throughout Central Florida, Tampa Bay and Sarasota where you can get into the Halloween spirit!

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Orlando Ballet: Vampire’s Ball

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Watermark attended the media preview dress rehearsal of Orlando Ballet’s Vampire’s Ball Oct. 16.

The show is Oct. 17 – 19 at Bob Carr Theatre.

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Party over Pride? Gay Days sees a shift away from community celebration

By : Chris Stephenson
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Orlando – Just as the United States has seen a rapid shift toward marriage equality in the past year, so appears to be a shift in the annual Gay Days celebration weekend.
Record crowds for Gay Days party events met with low turnout of LGBTs for Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom on June 7.

“We are staying at the host hotel and when we said we were coming to Disney, everyone asked us why, that Gay Days is about a party,” Shawn Stearns, a visitor from New York City said.

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Line-up announced for the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

By : Veronica Brezina
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Line-up announced for the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
The 2014-2015 Broadway and ballet line-up for the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was announced June 12.

The center will be open starting Nov. 6, 2014. The show line-up will include the Jazz Roots Series, featuring music from Ray Charles, Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes, plays such as Phantom of the Opera, I Love Lucy on stage and even shows for kids.

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Orlando’s loss, Baltimore’s gain: Cultural leader Ron Legler announces new job

By : Tom Dyer
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Orlando- There had been rumors, and close friends may have been quietly in the know. But on Feb. 18, when the Orlando Sentinel announced that Florida Theatrical Association (FTA) president Ron Legler was leaving for Baltimore, the news hit the local arts community like a ton of bricks.

“It’s like people were reading my obituary,” a still-stunned Legler says. “There were something like 400 comments on Facebook. I felt like Tom Sawyer peeking in at his own funeral.”

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Overheard in Orlando: Elton John burn!

By : Anonymous
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Dissed by Elton John
After interviewing her twice by telephone, Watermark publisher Tom Dyer finally got to meet Billie Jean King in person at the Mylan WTT Smash Hits tennis fundraiser at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. But his most memorable encounter was with Elton John, who threw him an unexpected – and hilarious – barb during the pre-tennis press conference. Dyer, who has light hair and a thick white goatee, asked Sir Elton if he planned to teach his two boys to play tennis. His response: “Before I answer, I just want to thank Kenny Rogers for being here today.”

Lambert turns 60… in a casket
Those who know Winter Park hair stylist Gary Lambert expected his 60th birthday at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park to be sensational. But he surprised more than 300 attendees when he was carried into the banquet hall by members of the Orlando Ballet-in a casket! Lambert spent the first part of the evening in party drag – think Marilyn Monroe meets Honey Boo Boo. But after he changed – and the Orlando Ballet led a flash mob on the dance floor – Lambert dropped to one knee and asked his partner of 21 years, Shawn Hunt, to marry him. To everyone’s relief – and surprise – Hunt said ‘yes.’ Their good friend, WKMG anchor Lauren Rowe, emceed the event, which was a benefit for Bears Who Care and the Orlando Youth Alliance. Like Auntie Mame, Lambert encouraged everyone to live life to the fullest…as he certainly has.

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