CORE Dance Company's "Become" is a meshing of styles

Family-friendly show features dancers of all ages

San Luis Obispo - The TribuneSeptember 26, 2013 

Emily MacDonald of CORE Dance.


— The annual CORE Dance performance, titled “Become,” features styles from contemporary and hip-hop to lyrical and jazz, with original choreography by CORE directors and guests. “Sing with Swing,” the opening piece, is a high-energy 1920s-style number with 40 dancers from both the youth company and the adult company.

Director Zheila Pourabagher says “Become,” the title of the concert, reflects the belief at the base of CORE Dance’s philosophy — that everyone can succeed if they set a goal, create a plan and immerse themselves in an environment that supports their dreams.

The closing piece in the program examines the word “Be” and the word “Come” and ends with “Become.”

“It’s about becoming who you are,” Pourabagher said, explaining that it was a lesson of sorts for members of the youth dance company to see the adult company performing and realize that you can be a dancer and still have a full-time job. Members of both companies are selected by auditions.

“The adult company ranges in age from 20 to 60-plus and includes teachers, college students, a hair stylist, dental hygienist, a writer and others. Dance styles are just as diverse, ranging from hip-hop and lyrical to tap, contemporary jazz and Broadway. The youth company shares the stage to complete the dance family, a reminder that dance isn’t limited by age.”

The array of styles and subjects in the family-friendly program reflects the vision of each director and choreographer, Pourabagher said. Pieces range in mood from intense to playful to comical.

For example, “Alibi,” by guest choreographer Drew Silvaggio, with nine adult dancers, is short and tense, she said. Silvaggio is the owner of the Academy of Dance. In “The Museum,” choreographed by Stacy Estrada, characters in a painting come to life. It is danced in a lyrical style, with elements of ballet.

A completely different mood is reflected in two pieces by Emmy Award-winning guest choreographer Suzy Miller, who set some comedy numbers for both the youth company and the adult dancers. One features dueling Riverdance-style dancers, another is a Bollywood piece, and one features “Lady Gaga” and Gangnam-style dancing.

A playful mood fuels “Street Hustlin’ ” by Edgar Garcia featuring the adult dancers as broke street performers trying to earn some money. Pourabagher describes it as “an upbeat, fun hip-hop piece.”

Stacy Estrada’s “Champagne Taste,” with 12 dancers, to the music of Eartha Kitt, is in musical theater style, “sassy and burlesquey.”

Estrada also set “Little Bird,” an “airy, quirky” solo piece for 17-year-old Rachel Warden.

Cheyenne McDonald, a singer-songwriter, brings her own band to the stage for “Pancakes on Saturdays” and “Different Drum.”

“Cheyenne is a member our youth dance company,” the director said, “but she is also a talented singer. We wanted to include this talent in our show to feature the many talents of our dancers.”

Dorian Hughes, another member of the dance company, will also do a vocal number.

The Bucket Busters are guest artists. Percussionists, they make their music on unconventional “instruments,” like buckets and cans, and raise money for music scholarships.

Last year’s CORE concert, “Confessions of a Love Junkie,” was a more adult program, Pourabagher said. This year, “Become,” with the addition of the youth company, is a family-oriented show.


7 p.m. Oct. 4 and 5
Spanos Theatre, Cal Poly
$20 to $28
756-4849 or

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