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Moving Current dance troupe performs at USF

NORTH TAMPA — Maybe it's time to start calling Moving Current Dance Collective "venerable."

For most of its existence, Moving Current has been widely recognized as the Tampa Bay area's premier modern dance company. It's now in its 15th year, an exceptionally long life span for any modern dance company, especially one based in an area not known for an abundance of dance enthusiasts.

But Moving Current has managed not only to survive but to expand its reputation and its influence. It's now arguably the most respected modern dance company in Florida, and certainly among the most highly regarded in the Southeast. It has developed a national reputation for quality and elegance, for powerful dance and delicate choreography, while still staying deeply rooted in Tampa.

Local modern dance fans no doubt already have this weekend's Moving Current concert on their calendar. For the dance-curious, this weekend's concert offers an opportunity to experience one of the area's artistic treasures.

Besides works from choreographers within the company's ranks, the concert — today, Saturday and Sunday in Theatre I at the University of South Florida — includes works by some noteworthy guest artists, including George Staib.

Staib teaches at Emory University and has his own company, the internationally acclaimed Staibdance, in Atlanta.

"He's set a piece on us called Lullaby," said Erin Cardinal, one of Moving Current's founders and artistic directors. "It's unlike anything Moving Current choreographers would normally do. It's very fast paced. It's 20 minutes of movement in a 10-minute piece."

Staib's work features seven dancers in a work about how petty differences can intrude into a relationship, eventually taking over so that the couple ultimately thrives on conflict, Cardinal said.

Moving Current helped give husband-and-wife choreographers Colette Krogol and Matthew Reeves their start. Krogol and Reeves were dancers who had recently graduated from the University of Florida when a dance they created was accepted into Moving Current's annual New Grounds program a few years ago.

New Grounds, now in its 12th year, offers aspiring choreographers a chance to have their works staged in a professional setting, often for the first time. Several choreographers who started at New Grounds have gone on to form their own companies.

Krogol and Reeves are now based in New York, where they head a company called Orange Grove Dance.

Also on tap are works by Moving Current choreographers Cindy Hennessy and Shelley Bourgeois. They're works that Moving Current previously performed, but they've been retooled somewhat.

Hennessy, a prolific choreographer, founded Moving Current with Cardinal. Cardinal said that Hennessy's piece in this concert, Falling Forward, is among her favorite of Hennessy's works.

"I'm so happy to be dancing in this piece," Cardinal said.

Cardinal is also offering a new piece of her own, set in an early '60s office with dancers in business suits rolling around the stage in desk chairs.

The concert, originally scheduled for this past weekend, had to be postponed because the Republican presidential debate was in the same theater on Jan. 23.

Marty Clear is a Tampa freelance writer who specializes in performing arts. He can be reached at mclear@tampabay.rr.com.

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