Arts & Culture

CORE dancers ‘Shine on’

"CORE Rhythms: Shine On,” CORE Dance Company’s annual dance concert, will feature an array of styles, including jazz, contemporary, hip hop, tap, musical theater, ballet and comedy as well as numbers with flavors of Bob Fosse and Bollywood, explained Leslie Baumberger, company director.

Dancers range from age 7 to 70-plus — from second-, third- and fourth-graders to the CORE company of adults to a senior group called GRADS (Greatly Respected Adult Dancers). Proceeds from the concert will benefit 22 dancers who will perform at the Tanzommer Festival in Austria this summer.

CORE stands for Creative, Original, Raw, Energy. The company is directed by Baumberger, Stacy Estrada, Rose Patti and Zheila Pouraghabagher. In keeping with CORE’s mission to join together with other dance professionals in the community, the show will include numbers by guest groups. Seventeen boys from Atascadero will sing and dance pieces from “Fiddler on the Roof.” A group from Nipomo High School will perform a cappella tap, similar to the group Stomp, Baumberger said.

In addition to company choreographers Pouraghabagher, Estrada and Edgar Garcia, guest choreographers will include Suzy Miller and Kelly Allen. Allen, a former CORE student who has worked with the TV shows “Glee” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” has set a jazz piece for advanced company members.

The program ranges from ballet to hip-hop. A Bollywood piece features elegant Indian-style costumes, with sheer pants and clothing decorated with beads and coins.

“It’s a feast for the eyes,” Baumberger said.

Some of the dance numbers that company members will be taking to Austria are also on the program, and concert proceeds will be divided between the dancers traveling to the festival to help them offset the expensive trip.

“This is the fourth year our dancers will perform at the Tanzommer Festival in Austria,” Baumberger said. “We were recommended by other dance professionals in 2000, then re-invited in 2003, 2006 and this year. We are scheduled to perform in the opening gala, titled ‘Young Stars of Tomorrow,’ opening along with four or five big youth groups.”

She said that about 2,000 people come to the shows and they are usually sold out. After the opening show, the CORE dancers will perform two matinees for schoolchildren, with about 1,000 to 1,200 kids at each show. They will then go to Salzburg, and on to a village in the Alps.

“We will perform for children in a castle. The dressing rooms are in the dungeon.”

The group will dance for an audience in the town square in Johanna and then travel south to Lintz, on the border of Austria and Italy. They will visit Venice, but not perform there. The group includes 22 dancers and some parents. The dancers, all girls, are ages 12 to 18. The trip was open to intermediate dancers, beginning at 12 years old.

Baumberger asks that parents go with the younger girls. The high-schoolers can go without parents, but a number of parents choose to go. The trip is memorable for the dancers, Baumberger said.

“The experience changes their perspective of themselves and of the world. Some of the dancers who went before, who are now in their 20s or 30s, still talk about the trip.”

She said it gives the girls an opportunity to share their passion for dance with dancers from around the country and the world, from such places as New York, Colorado, France and Mexico. “Ninety-nine percent of the girls have never been out of the country,” she said.

“They spend time with dancers and share a common love. It’s not a competition, so they cheer each other on, and help when there’s a problem. They share email addresses and keep in touch.”

This weekend’s dance concert at Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre is family friendly, Baumberger said, fun for adults and kids 5 and up. “The show is fast paced, with pieces short and varied. It’s perfect for the beginner dance enthusiast.”


"CORE Rhythms: Shine On"

7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Spanos Theatre, Cal Poly

$15 to $28 (parking included)

756-4849 or