Spring Arts 2006

What to Watch For

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WMNF Presents the 25th Annual Tropical Heatwave: The community station's biggest annual event (and arguably the best and most eclectic yearly Bay area music fest going) turns the corner on a quarter-century of quality entertainment. You know the deal — umpteen stages all over the Cuban Club and surrounding area, featuring umpteen bands running the gamut from jam to folk to punk to hip-hop. Acts confirmed so far for this year's installment include Chuck Prophet, The Mammals, The Ike Reilly Assassination, Papa Grows Funk and Grupo Fantasma, but expect a plethora of national and local talent. May 20, Cuban Club, Ybor City, 813-238-8001.

Scott Harrell

Tap Dogs: This troupe of work-booted working-class heroes from Australia puts on a show that combines the sweaty bravado of a rugby match, the pile-driving din of a construction site and the percussive inventiveness of Stomp. Jan. 31, 8 p.m., Van Wezel.

Two to Tango: If you're an aficionado of Argentina's national dance, you've got two opportunities to enjoy it this season. At the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Julio Bocca leads his troupe Ballet Argentino in the balleticized BoccaTango, while the Van Wezel brings us the real thing with Forever Tango, under the direction of Luis Bravo. Both troupes use live orchestras. BoccaTango, Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 813-229-STAR; Forever Tango, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-953-3368. Call for date.

Dundu Dole: St. Pete's own "Urban African Ballet" troupe brings the drums, drama and pageantry of West African dance to the stage of the Palladium. Fri. Feb. 10, The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N., 727-822-3590.

Bellydance Superstars: Want more jingle in your jiggles? More jelly in your belly rolls? Then maybe you need to check out these undulating wonders, a troupe whose founder hopes to make his belly-dancing revue as popular as Riverdance. If that conjures up images of Michael Flatley in harem pants, we are so very sorry. Feb. 22, Royalty Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. www.bellydancesuperstars.tickets.musictoday.com.

Sleeping Beauties: It was reputedly Tchaikovsky's favorite among his ballets (take that, Nutcracker!), and you have two chances to find out why when two, count 'em, two Russian ballet companies bring productions of Sleeping Beauty to the region. The Tchaikovsky Ballet brings its version to Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall in February; the Russian National Ballet comes to Tampa in March. Sleeping Beauty, Feb. 23, 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater, 727-791-7400 or 800-875-8682; Russian National Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty, TBPAC, March 5, 4 p.m., 813-229-STAR.

Brazilian Rhythms: Two quite different brands of Brazilian dance come to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center this spring. First up is the five-man dance theater ensemble Omstrab, who take inspiration from the "street dance" of urban workers in Northeast Brazil. Then comes DanceBrazil, acclaimed purveyors of traditional and contemporary Afro-Brazilian dance. Omstrab, 8 p.m. March 3-4, 4 p.m. March. 5, TBPAC, Shimberg Playhouse; DanceBrazil, March 22, 8 p.m., TBPAC, Ferguson Hall, 813-229-STAR.

Martha Graham Dance Company: For years, the rights to the work of 20th-century modern dance pioneer Martha Graham were tangled up in legal battles between her company and Graham's heir. The company won. Now the troupe is on tour, bringing a program of seminal works like Appalachian Spring, plus lesser-known works and new pieces by kindred-spirit choreographers. March 10, 8 p.m., Van Wezel.

Visions of Peace: USF dance professor Jeanne Travers could have a second career at the U.N., judging by her skill at forging international collaboration. Consider this partial list of the elements in her choreographic project Visions of Peace: dancers from Paris and Tampa; musicians from Algeria, France, Iran and Tunisia; narration in French, English and Arabic; chants in Judeo-Spanish and Hebrew. Inspired by The International Book of Peace, a compilation of peace messages from artists and world leaders, this multi-disciplinary extravaganza premiered in Paris last year and makes its debut hereabouts in both Tampa and Sarasota. March 8, 8 p.m., Theatre 1, USF, Tampa, 813-287-8844; March 13, Players Theatre, Sarasota. 813-974-2021.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: A program of new work and old favorites, including the glorious "Revelations," under the leadership of the ever-regal artistic director Judith Jamison. These are some of the most spectacularly talented dancers in the world, and now that they have the security of a beautiful new headquarters in NYC, they're soaring higher than ever. 8 p.m. Wed., 2 and 8 p.m. Fri., March 29-31, Ruth Eckerd Hall, 727-791-7400.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble: The intricate, exquisite patterns of classical Indian dance, performed by a troupe so devoted to perfecting the rituals of this venerable art form that they live and practice together in a communal dance village. April 15, 7:30 p.m., TBPAC, Ferguson Hall, 813-229-STAR.

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