Friday, August 29, 2014

Ask the Locals: Erin Cardinal, beautiful mover

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 6:05 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY HEIDI KURPIELA
  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Erin Cardinal is the co-artistic director of Moving Current, a collaborative dance collective that presents modern and aerial dance performances across Tampa Bay. If you attended Creative Loafing’s Sensory Overload at the Glazer Children’s Museum in 2011, you probably saw the lithe mother of two performing an aerial feat in the museum’s rain exhibit.

Cardinal, 41, helped launch Moving Current 17 years ago, back when the only dancers turning heads in Tampa were strippers. Since its inception in 1997, Moving Current has raised the bar for modern dance in Florida. The company’s New Grounds initiative has served as a springboard for dozens of young and emerging choreographers across the state and the country.

Cardinal, who grew up in Dunedin cutting a rug in what she calls “family room productions,” earned her B.A. in modern dance from the University of South Florida. She moved to New York shortly thereafter, but moved home a year later to study massage therapy.

When fellow dancers Shelley Bourgeois and Cynthia Hennessy approached her about starting a company in Tampa, Cardinal immediately jumped at the opportunity.

The Lake Magdalene resident doubles as the company’s costume designer. She has taught and choreographed dance at Blake High School for the Arts, the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg College and Hillsborough Community College. This summer she will relinquish the reins at Moving Current to pursue her M.F.A. in dance at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Favorite dance venue: Mainstage Theatre at Hillsborough Community College in Ybor City. “It reminds me a lot of the Joyce Theater in New York City. The house is angled steeply so the audience can see the entire stage all the time. The audience feels close to you even when they’re in the back row. It’s a big space, but it becomes very intimate very quickly, which is nice for dance.”

Favorite Tampa Bay mover and shaker: Christina Acosta, director of the dance department at Hillsborough Community College. “She is in constant think mode and always puts the community first. She’s always asking, ‘How can we make this better? How can we make a bigger impact?’”

Favorite Sarasota mover and shaker: Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, artistic director and co-founder of Fuzión Dance Artists. “Leymis keeps a clear direction with her company. She always pays attention to the quality of her work and the quality of the dancers. Her professionalism is a good balance to her artistic direction, which is hard to find in artists.”

Favorite drama king: Eric Davis, artistic director of freeFall Theatre. “Moving Current worked with him when he directed Hair for American Stage in the Park. It was so beautifully done and mindfully crafted. His vision comes from such an authentic place. He’s a wonderful addition to the arts community. You could never go wrong going to see something at freeFall, especially if it was directed by Eric.”

Favorite quick and easy lunch: The Bricks of Ybor. “They serve a proper grilled cheese sandwich, if you’re a fan of the grilled cheese.”

Favorite Main Street: Downtown Dunedin. “You’ve got Skip’s Bar & Grill, Casa Tina, Kelly’s and the Chic a Boom Room. The Dunedin Brewery is around the corner and an ice cream shop right on the Pinellas Trail. I spent most of my younger days in Dunedin. When I was in high school Dunedin was nothing like it is now. If that town looked like it did now when I was in high school, I wouldn’t have left!”

Best place to accessorize a wardrobe: La France. “If you’re a vintage junkie, La France in Ybor is the place to be. The coolest thing I ever purchased there was a pillbox wallet with the old Tampa Times logo on it.”

Best place to worship the sun: Clearwater Beach. “Clearwater still hasn’t lost its beachy-ness. It’s not sleepy and it’s not overdeveloped. It’s a nice middle ground. I grew up there, and Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is still the best place to watch a sunset.”

Best boundary-pushing art: Spec Performance. “They do a lot of cross-discipline events at the Studio@620. Their concerts are an eclectic blend of things. It’s usually performance-heavy. I’ve seen some things where I had to step back and go, ‘Wow, OK, that’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.’”

Favorite guilty pleasure: Marchello’s Pizza. “They can put anything on a pizza and it’ll taste good. They’ll put eggplant on a pizza.”

Tampa’s secret fountain of youth: The Life Enrichment Senior Center. “It’s this little hidden gem for older active adults that’s been around since 1980. They offer classes in fine arts, heath and fitness. I’ve worked with their dance group, Forever Moving. They serve a really important purpose in Tampa Bay. The place is creative, vibrant and fun.”

The local chain she can’t avoid: Beef O’Brady’s. “My boys love the place. It’s easy and they have video games. It’s not exactly a date night destination, but when you have a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old you take what you can get.”

Best place to drag the kids on a hot day: Highlander Park in Dunedin. “It’s a beautiful place. You could spend the whole day there. There’s a splash park, a playground, picnic tables, a community center and the Dunedin Fine Art Center all in one shot.”

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