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Moving Current show one of its best yet

The first wisps of rain from Hurricane Jeanne put a premature end to Saturday's performance by Moving Current.

The audience was disappointed and groans were audible when they heard that the last piece of the performance, which was to be danced in and on a car parked outside of the theater at the University of South Florida, was canceled. The rain made the surface of the car too slippery.

So audience members walked briskly back to their own cars, with the light rain becoming steadily more annoying. But they couldn't have felt too bad; even without that last piece, the performance they had just seen was lovely, poignant and inventive, one of the strongest in the seven-year history of Moving Current.

The only problem was an abrupt change of mood toward the end of the performance. After four consecutive pieces that had an ethereal, contemplative quality, the final work, Lynne Wimmer's CAReography, brought raucous silliness. The piece was fresh and witty, but it provided a jolt after such graceful and contemplative dances.

CAReography was one of two dance-theater pieces on the program. The concert opened with Cindy Hennessy's What Are the Odds?, a comic but pathos-tinged work about a lonely woman who believes everything that comes her way through e-mail, from promises of fortune to words of affection from online lovers.

It was a pleasant piece with some very funny moments and well-done computer graphics by Andreas Mannerud. But the dancing and the text never seemed to mesh and the costumes were unattractive.

The next piece, a solo work by Michael Foley titled Banshee, took the audience in a different direction. Foley stood in one spot for virtually the entire piece, dancing with his arms and torso. He moved around the stage only slightly in the last few seconds. Then the piece seemed to come startlingly to fruition in its very last instant.

Erin Cardinal provided the choreography for the next piece, The Arc Between Two Deaths, set to Chopin. It was gorgeously conceived and realized.

Celeste Silsby's lighting design was delicious throughout the concert, but never more than in this piece, where it imparted the rich warmth of a Renaissance painting.

Maria Capitano's La Vita di Una Donna followed, a triptych of Latin-flavored dances with charismatic performances by Melissa Pasut, Dena Curtin and Capitano.

Jennifer Salk's Was Is, Was offered three dancers (Diana Mighdoll, Katie Cole Guthrie and Cardinal) in various combinations in a series of short, gorgeous dances to 16th-century French music.

The clever, lighthearted CAReography followed with Paul Reller's energizing music.

The rain started at almost the very second the audience filed out to see the last planned piece, titled CAReography Epilogue. No one seemed put off by the prospect of getting soaked. After the excellence of the performance they had just seen inside, they would have gladly put up with some discomfort to extend the concert experience for a few more minutes.