NYC hearts Miami City Ballet, but what about Tampa Bay?

Florida is getting some love from the toughest audiences in the world: New York City dance fans. The Miami City Ballet, headed by legendary dancer Edward Villella, is making its NYC debut this week, and the reviews have been ecstatic. Alastair Macaulay, the New York Times' usually hard-to-please critic, followed up his enthusiastic review of the troupe's first program with an even more admiring writeup of their second, describing one dance as an "an accumulating series of… wonderful shocks" and proclaiming that "these dancers made these dances young again."

Accolades like these are a big deal for a regional company. But I have to admit to a little intra-state jealousy. Miami gets all the attention. What about Tampa Bay? Will any of our homegrown dance or theater companies, our museums or our festivals or our individual artists, ever reach this same level of undeniable national importance? Maybe some already have — remind me if I'm overlooking someone. But I'm also wondering what needs to be done to ensure that this kind of progress occurs.

Money is one answer, of course. And it's worth noting that even with all the support from critics and audiences, MCB is facing "one of the most difficult financial periods in its history," according to the Miami Herald.

It's tough all over. Go see some local art or dance or theater or there won't be any left to see. Use it — or lose it.