+ Former Sarasota ballerina’s star rises in Houston Ballet
It should come as no surprise to Sarasota Ballet patrons that Lauren Strongin-Ciobanu is wooing audiences in the heart of Texas.
Strongin-Ciobanu shocked Sarasota dancer-lovers in 2009 when she left her principal post with the Sarasota Ballet to join the corps de ballet at the Houston Ballet.
It was a risky, yet calculated move for the 27-year-old dancer, who yearned to perform for a bigger company in a larger market.
Well, this month it paid off.
Stanton Welch, the Houston Ballet’s artistic director, promoted Strongin-Ciobanu, now in her second season with the company, to demi-soloist.
A fan favorite for years, Strongin-Ciobanu returned to Sarasota last month to perform two duets with Houston partner Joseph Walsh before a sold-out crowd at the inaugural Carreño Dance Festival.
The ballerina and her husband, former ballet teacher Adrian Ciobanu, will join the Carreño faculty this summer to lead intensive workshops in Sarasota alongside festival founder and American Ballet Theatre principal Jose Manuel Carreño.
+ The HuB Cup runneth over with Hollywood glamour
Attendees of the first HuB Cup at the Sarasota Polo Club donned their best Hollywood-inspired duds Sunday afternoon as HuB founders Rich Swier and Matt Orr announced the A-list lineup for the 2011 Vinyl Music Festival (VMF).
Swier and Orr used the grassy backdrop of the polo grounds to make this VMF news official: the three-day electronic music event, now in its third year, will be held April 8 to April 10 to coincide with the Sarasota Film Festival.
When SFF organizers asked Swier if he’d be interested in moving the popular music festival from July to April, the collaboration-happy entrepreneur immediately jumped at the chance.
“We wanted to create unity and synergy among the two events,” Swier says. “We wanted to go from having our own fiefdoms to brining all the components together.”
Swier says VMF fans can expect 35 DJs at a handful of familiar locations, in addition to a main party at Michael’s On East with four DJs spinning at once.
He says he hopes this year’s acts will draw electronic music lovers from near and far thanks to these industry superstars: DJs Cosmo, Darude and Honorebel.
If HuB Cup’s attendance is any indication of what’s to come from overlapping the two festivals’ schedules, then Swier and Orr are off to a good start.
Larry Cadman, a dead-ringer for Frank Sinatra, and Lorraine Stanick were among dozens of people to turn out for the announcement last weekend decked out in retro-hip Hollywood garb.
+ Glitz up your weekend at the Five-Star Ball
The Sarasota Star Ball — a five-star ballroom competition organized by Sarasota ballroom dancer Sid Pocius— returns to the Hyatt Regency Sarasota for a third year.
The two-day event begins with a red carpet cocktail reception at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, followed by dinner and dance performances by Latin dance champions Misha Valsov and Danielle Wilson and World Smooth champions Slavik Sochacki and Marzena Stachura.
The ball continues through Sunday, Jan. 16 with all-day dance competitions until 7:30 p.m., concluding with a dance extravaganza at 10 p.m.
For tickets and a complete list of events, call 888-784-4318 or visit www.5starballroom-
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Merchants on Lakewood Ranch Main Street continue to mourn the surprising loss of fellow business owner Rebekah Hatmaker, co-owner of Serendipity Boutique.