Left: Bows. The CORE Dance Collective, completely smeared with black paint, together with Artistic Director Kelli Leighton.
The CORE Web Site said it all:
We are proud to announce that CORE’s Undefined Existence is SOLD OUT for both nights. Thank you for all who bought tickets in advance. Unfortunately this means there will be no tickets being sold at the door. Sorry for those who will be unable to attend this exciting show. Thanks again for all of your support.Well, this was no good. The most exciting dance show of the spring, and I can't go! No fun in that!
Well, I wasn't going to put up with that nonsense. I vowed to see if I could find a way to wedge myself into the hall, by hook or by crook, even if I had to stand in the back.
But first, I had to find the theater. I have some kind of brain glitch that always seems to prevent me from finding Natomas Charter School Auditorium until I first explore every street in North Natomas. That exploration took fifteen minutes. Lo and behold, the folks in the box office sold me a ticket anyway (they acted a bit dodgy, as if worried the ticket's true owner might show up), and I entered the hall slightly late (I did have to stand in the aisle, but I didn't care).
The first dance presentation 'Living for Today' featured a medley of Coldplay tunes: 'Clocks', 'Scientist', 'Fix You', and 'Viva la Vida'. The dance was joyous, very fast, athletic, challenging - just a real pleasure to watch. In particular, Blair Kendall danced well. The number must have taken forever to choreograph, though. Coldplay never sings short tunes, but rather long, extended numbers.
Many student dancers were also incorporated in this piece (CORE has been travelling in the community over the last year, offering master workshops, which has also allowed them to identify the best up-and-coming dancers in the Sacramento area and offer them chances to perform).
The second presentation, named 'Freedom of the Fire', was an update from an odd presentation in last year's show, "Imagine". The style has a name, I'm sure (but don't know it). Basically, the dancers are street characters in glad rags, dancing in an exaggerated, clown-like way (picture Carol Burnett as the cleaning woman on her variety show). The theme was boy-meets-girl and falls in love, told in the manner of a comedy. Very enjoyable, and I thought done better than last year. The central couple was (I believe) Kelli Leighton and Leandro Glory Damasco, Jr., and they were great. My eyes continuously strayed, however, to watch Tina DeVine's comic antics as part of the ensemble.
The third presentation was called 'Rising Undercurrent', featuring music from the 'Blood Diamond' motion picture soundtrack. Haunting work, with just a bit of Cirque du Soleil edge, that seemed to show the progression of some kind of curse, or disease, represented by smeared blood, or paint. Really unusual!
This is CORE's third show, in a year-and-a-half, and they get better every time. For some time, there has been a gap in the Sacramento dance scene for a good, community-based, modern/jazz/ballet/hip-hop dance group. In the early 90's, Bonnie McNeely filled the gap (though, to me, the group seemed have a cult-like edge) and in the late 90's Ruth Rosenberg filled the gap (until time moved on), but except for the periphery of the metropolitan area (e.g., Pamela Trokanski in Davis), that gap has often been empty. CORE fills the gap, and well (no signs of a cult and the dancers are young and enthusiastic).
CORE is the best group on the Sacramento scene these days and deserves our full support!
Left: Artistic Director Kelli Leighton.
Left: Assistant Artistic Director Blair Kendall (post-show, and smeared in paint).
Left: Assistant Artistic Director Anne David (also post-show).