Saturday, March 2, 2013

Moving Current, Staibdance offer stunning Tampa show

   The one performing arts genre that doesn’t abound in the Bradenton-Sarasota area  is modern dance. But this weekend, dance aficionados can satisfy their terpsichorean tastebuds with a trip to Tampa. 
   Moving Current, now in its 15th year as the Tampa Bay area’s preeminent modern dance company, is partnering with Staibdance, an internationally known company based in Atlanta, for three weekend concerts. The program features four pieces by Moving Current and two by Staibdance. 
   The six dances all work together, but stylistic contrasts are apparent. Staibdance is more aggressive and a bit more playful; the pieces by Moving Current choreographers tend to be gentler and more lyrical.    
   The most effective pieces of the evening were two re-workings of Moving Current pieces from years past. Cynthia Hennessy premiered “Undertow” as a quartet in 2007. She’s now adapted it for seven dancers.  
   “Undertow” is simply a beautiful thing to watch, with its dancers flowing across the stage, seemingly carried apart and brought together by unseen, uncontrollable but benevolent forces. It’s lovely. From the stunning opening tableaux through to an equally satisfying finish. 
   Erin Cardinal’s “The Arc Between Two Deaths,” from 2004, is a quintet set to Chopin music. The title comes from a comment from modern dance pioneer Doris Humphrey about those moments, both in dance, and in life, between a fall and a recovery. Cardinal has extrapolated that idea into an exploration of trust in dance and in interpersonal relationships. 
   Audience members may or may not catch that idea of the dance, but it doesn’t matter either way. The grace of the Moving Current dancers and the force of Cardinal’s choreography are effective even if they’re regarded as abstract. 
Moving Current, "Undertow"
   The two Staibdance works, George Staib’s “Crevasse” and Kathleen Wessell’s “Swan” are almost as strong. They’re both large works – eight dancers in one, nine in the other – with lots going on at every moment. They’re powerful and energetic pieces, exquisitely danced, and they’re effective counterpoints to the Moving Current works that bookend them. 
   Also on the program two new Moving Current duets, Cardinal’s “The Enormity of Two" and Shelley Bourgeois’ “Connected Treads.” They’re both enjoyable, but don’t have the lasting impact of the other four works on the program. 
   Evocative lighting design by Celeste Silsby is a highlight throughout, most notably in "Undertow."
   You have two more chances to see the concert, at 8 p.m. March 2 and 2 p.m. March 3. It’s in Theatre 1 at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. $16 general, $12 students and seniors. (813) 237-0216 or



No comments: