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USF hosts New Grounds dance festival in Tampa

Among the pieces on the program for this year’s New Grounds Festival Performance is “Atta Girl” by Jacquelyn Pritz of Windemere.

It started out as a modest but distinctive annual concert that gave young choreographers a chance to set their work on a professional stage. That was 17 years ago.

Now Moving Current’s New Grounds has evolved into a festival, with master classes and other ancillary events.

The centerpiece of the festival is still that performance of works by emerging choreographers. This year’s concert is scheduled for two performances this weekend.

Besides offering choreographers from around Florida the opportunity to stage their works, the New Grounds performances give local dance aficionados a chance to experience a wider breadth and variety of work.

“We put out a call for tapes,” says Cindy Hennessy, the Artistic Director of Moving Current, Tampa’s preeminent professional dance company. “Then we have a panel of dance professionals select the best six or eight or nine, depending on length.”

New Grounds has become increasingly prestigious and competitive over the years, so audiences can count on high-quality dance.

Besides the concert, the New Grounds Festival also includes a free event called “Show + Tell” that’s a little like an open-mic night for choreographers. Anyone who has created a dance work, or has a work in progress, can sign up to perform it and get feedback from other dancers, choreographers and fans of the art form.

The New Grounds Festival Performance is set for 8 p.m. Friday, May 12, and 2 p.m. the following day, Saturday, May 13, in Theatre 2 on the University of South Florida Tampa campus. Tickets for students and seniors are $15; all others are $20. You can get them at the door.

“Show + Tell”  event was Wednesday, May 10, at the USF Dance Department.

Call 813-237-0216 or go to the Moving Current website for more details.

Read more articles by Marty Clear.

Marty Clear has been writing for various publications in the Tampa Bay area for more than 40 years, mostly covering the performing arts. He studied journalism at the University of South Florida and works nights at downtown Tampa’s legendary Hub bar. He goes to theater, dance and opera every chance he gets (in other words, any time he can afford it or he can cop a free ticket). He used to own a record store/ live music venue in Ybor City called Blue Chair. The first thing you may notice about him is that he’s 6’7”, and to answer your question, no, he doesn’t play basketball. He writes about West Tampa and other topics for 83 Degrees. Follow him on Twitter @martinclear.
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