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Footwork to expand the dance

Published Sep. 19, 1997|Updated Oct. 2, 2005

(ran TP edition)

They were women with a clear sense of mission: to create a season of contemporary dance in Tampa.

During their collaboration on various dance projects over the past few years, the women _ dancers, teachers and choreographers _ had toyed with the idea of forming a group to show off their work and that of other artists.

"We decided it was time to cultivate our own opportunities," said Cynthia Hennessy, a Tampa resident who teaches dance at Eckerd College and St. Petersburg Junior College.

"We have some very beautiful dancers that are coming out of the University of South Florida's dance program. Some of them want to stay here, but for it to work for them we have to provide opportunities for them."

Beyond the university setting, Tampa doesn't have much to attract the professional modern dancer, Hennessy said. "Elsa has a company _ Gaugere Dance Company _ but there are no other professional modern dance companies here," she said.

The women are aiming to change that.

Tonight the new dance collective, called Moving Current, will present its first program of new modern dance works, Dances on the Edge _ Part I, at Hillsborough Community College.

Moving Current does not wish to bill itself simply as a "dance company."

"The basis is dance, but _ and this is reflected in the name Moving Current _ we're also very interested in crossing over into other art forms and working with other artists like musicians and videographers," said Elsa Valbuena, a teacher of dance at the University of South Florida.

"Each project will be different and our responsibilities in the group will change with each project," said Hennessy, who is orchestrating Moving Current's first performance.

Valbuena, a native of Colombia, will direct the next performance, planned for January 1998, and Erin Cardinal, a 1994 graduate of USF's dance program, will be in charge of the third performance scheduled for May 1998.

"We're getting a lot of support, mostly from the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa and Hillsborough Community College," said Cardinal.

The program tonight and Saturday will feature four dance works:

Without A Map is an abstract piece, choreographed by Hennessy, about life changes and the struggles against surrendering to change. The work will feature two of the six dancers hanging from ropes and "flying" their way through a set of 30-foot-tall bamboo poles. The flying dancers use the bamboo "to defy gravity and for control," Hennessy said. Suspended as they are, "just a small movement can send them spinning out of control ... the bamboo gives them some control."

When The Child Was A Child is an excerpt from Valbuena's work Marbleized Memories, which will be shown in its entirety in October at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Child will be performed by three adults and Valbuena's 7-year-old daughter. It is set to an original score by Dee Moses, principal bass of the Florida Orchestra. The theme of the work is fragmented ideas and memories.

Conversation, a piece by Cardinal, was originally performed in 1994. Since then, it has been developed further, she said. The work is based on conversation and the way communication and the lack of it affect people. Five dancers, including Cardinal, will perform.

Matt Caudill will be featured in the program's only solo. It's a work he choreographed, based on the idea of self-affirmation and developing an identity.

AT A GLANCE

Dances on the Edge Part I performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday at Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City campus, performing arts building at the corner of Palm Avenue and Fourteenth Street. Tickets $10 general admission, $5 seniors and students (free to HCC students and faculty).

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