Florida Dance Festival features intriguing lineup
Tampa may not be a hotbed of dance activity, but this year's Florida Dance Festival, running from June 17 through 29, offers some interesting and out-of-the-ordinary performances and workshop opportunities.
The Festival, presented by the statewide arts/dance service organization, the Florida Dance Association, puts on an annual two-week dance workshop every summer, and this year it returns to the University of South Florida School of Theatre and Dance in Tampa. This year's lineup for the performance series features some nuggets of temptation that are not likely to return to the area anytime soon.
The series starts with a bang on June 19 at 8 p.m. when New York-based Sheetal Gandhi, an intercultural, multi-disciplinary choreographer and performer, presents her original work, "Bahu-Beti-Biwi" (daughter-in-law/daughter/wife). This solo piece is a combination of modern dance, live singing and percussive text based on North Indian music traditions. It is a humorous portrayal of an Indian-American teenage girl merging into two other characters (all played by Gandhi) as their different generations actively resist and redefine freedom, compromise, desire, longing, duty and love.
Gandhi is best known for her work in Cirque du Soleil's "Dralion," and for the leading role in the Broadway production of "Bombay Dreams." On this, her first tour in Florida, she will also lead a free Bollywood master class, open to the public, at 7:30 p.m. on June 18.
The Atlanta and Houston-based Core Performance Company is next up, with an original contemporary work at 8 p.m. on June 22. The six-member modern company, under the direction of Sue Schroeder, is known for creating innovative choreography that evolves through experimentation, improvisation and collaboration with artists from various mediums. Company dancers will lead a free modern master class at 11 a.m. on June 23.
Dancers John Beauregard and Joanne Barrett will perform Miami dancer and choreographer Heather Maloney's "unquiet / body" at 8 p.m. on June 26. A co-production of the Florida Dance Association, Tigertail Productions and Inkub8, it features Maloney's expressive and kinesthetic style and is a collaboration with danceAble, a project that centers on dance as a vital art form for those with and without disabilities.
For the first time in Tampa Bay, the multi-award-winning San Francisco-based Sean Dorsey Dance company will present "The Secret History of Love" at 8 p.m. on June. 28. Dorsey is recognized as the nation's first public transgender modern choreographer and has received numerous awards and national attention for his groundbreaking work. His nonprofit, Fresh Meat Productions, is dedicated solely to the creation and presentation of transgender arts.
The four-member company first premiered "The Secret History of Love" to a sold-out run in San Francisco. Currently on tour, the show, based on a two-year LGBT Elders Oral History Project, features real life stories told by elders, who detail secret way that transgender and gay people found love during the age of 1920s speakeasies, wartime love affairs and underground cabarets.
Dorsey will also lead a free modern dance master class at 11 a.m. on June 29 and no dance experience is required.
The final performance of the series, at 7:30 p.m. on June 29, is the Festival Finale, with work by Florida Dance Festival students and choreography by faculty members.
Tickets range from $7-$22 and can be purchased online at www.floridadanceassociation.org or Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787. All performances and classes take place on the USF-Tampa campus at the School of Theatre and Dance, located at 3829 USF W. Holly Drive in Tampa.
FLORIDA DANCE FESTIVAL
June 17 - 19 at University of South Florida-Tampa's School of Theatre and Dance., 3829 USF W. Holly Drive in Tampa. Performances June 18-29 by Sheetal Gandhi, Core Performance Company, Heather Maloney, Sean Dorsey Dance and festival participants. Tickets $7-$22. (800) 982-2787 or www.floridadanceassociation.org.