It's been an impressive 10 days for local dance companies.
Just a week after Moving Current staged its gorgeous and highly entertaining concert at the University of South Florida, Guadere Danza came along with a poignant performance at Hillsborough Community College.
The Guadere Danza concert, titled Sin Fin _ Spanish for "without end" _ consisted of a trio of works by artistic director Elsa Valbuena, who founded the company in Colombia and brought it with her when she moved it to Tampa.
Even before the first piece started, as the audience walked into the theater in Performing Arts Building on the HCC Ybor campus, dreamlike electro-acoustic music by Dee Moses set a tranquil but slightly otherworldly mood. When the house lights came down, an abstract black-and-white video appeared on a screen that filled the back of the stage.
About the time the mesmerizing images on the video (Tomiyo Sasaki and Ernest Gusella) gelled into a recognizable human figure, muted stage lights revealed two dancers _ Valbuena and Christine Lockhart _ lying on stage. The two rose and locked into a short but beautifully monochromatic piece called Marbleized Memories. The video moved back and forth between abstractions and concrete images, complementing the dance but never overpowering it.
Next came another short piece, the premier of Untitled 2004, a solo piece danced by Melissa Pasut to music from the Peer Gynt Suite. It might have been more effective as an opening piece; Pasut's performance was fine, but the piece itself didn't have the innovative impact of Marbleized Memories.
The final, longer work, Sin Fin, brought back Moses' effective music in a piece by four dancers (Lockhart, Pasut, Brian Fidalgo and Josianne Fleming). The gentle and atmospheric music was arrhythmic and completely electronic at first, then gradually evolved into more familiar sounds. The dance itself had a romantic air, with hints of a narrative, and featured lovely costumes by C. Bisha Moo and fine performances by all four dancers.
The downside to the concert _ and it certainly wasn't a fatal flaw _ was a sameness both within the pieces and among them. The mood and the tempo remained much the same from start to finish. There wasn't a moment of levity or even lightheartedness, and there was little sense of emotional momentum. Erik Morris' lighting was attractive and evocative, but all three pieces were lit in precisely the same way, with soft lights coming in from the wings at stage level.
Those problems might have been more intrusive if they had persisted through a longer show, but they were decidedly minor in this 70-minute concert. The lasting impressions came from strikingly inventive images, palpable musical textures and meticulous performances.