October is a tricky month in the world of dance performance. But this year, between those barefoot, dallying dreams of summer and the winter season’s loomingly serious Nutcrackers and A Christmas Carols, the local dance scene pauses for one collective, autumnal breath.
- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? : Dancers from across the county perform in Come Together, a comprehensive and diverse presentation of dance on the Central Coast. Pictured is a rehearsal of Stacy Estrada’s piece “Freshmen.”
Come Together, a joint effort between neighboring studios CORE and the Academy of Dance—with guest performances from the likes of Variable Velocity, Deyo Dances, the Paso Robles studio Artistry in Motion, and even a tap number from Nipomo High School—is a collaborative, diverse presentation of the state of dance in San Luis Obispo.
“I think that we need to be more global in our dancing,” Leslie Baumberger, one of four owner/directors of CORE Dance, explained during a reporter’s visit to the industrial cul-de-sac the two studios call home. It’s something Baumberger has been saying for a while. Come Together was her idea.
CORE, she went on, was founded on the principles of So You Think You Can Dance, a show whose stylistic eclecticism constantly pushed dancers to their mental and physical best. The company’s performances have always been collaborative—outside choreographers, local and otherwise, are frequently credited in their programs—but Come Together marks the first time they’ve shared the stage with other groups.
- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
Several popular pieces from CORE’s repertoire are being resurrected, including a dirty dancing fantasy romp (set to “Wonderland” by Natalia Kills) that Jesus Solario choreographed for last summer’s Confessions of a Love Junkie, and Wes Krukow’s anguished “Rolling in the Deep,” set to the song by Adele.
A few works that haven’t yet seen an audience will premiere at the show as well, including Suzy Miller’s “Roxbury,” a dance she described as a “rollicking and irreverent disco comedy piece based on Saturday Night Live’s infamous ‘Roxbury Boys.’” Miller also choreographed the Fosse tribute “Steam Heat” and the boyish “Mess Around.”
Stacy Estrada, another CORE owner/director, leans toward the lyrical with dances set to Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash,” and “The Freshman” by The Verve Pipe.
The “Come Together” show, which hits the Spanos Theatre Oct. 22 and 23, is being treated like something of an experiment. If the production is well received, it might just become an annual event. If not, the loss will be absorbed by all involved, an economically safer model organizers believe other arts institutions should adopt.
Dance lovers will also get a glimpse of works like “Falling Up” by Diana Stanton of Variable Velocity, and “DHL” by Lisa Deyo.
Drew Silvaggio, artistic director of the Civic Ballet—the performance company based at the Academy of Dance—choreographed four of the Academy’s six offerings. His piece “Fallen,” set to Bon Iver’s “Lump Sum,” is about a power struggle, he said: the fine line between supporting someone and holding them back. Dancers fall back, but are mercifully caught. They run across the stage and are captured before they reach the wings.
In creating “Mob,” Silvaggio had in mind “some sort of hot, sweaty concert or a party,” he said. The piece is imbued with an air of, in his words, “Should we be doing this? I don’t know, but it’s being done.”
“All of my pieces come from a story, but I wouldn’t dare tell anyone what it was,” he went on. This human aspect, he said, is something “the audience can connect to much more than they can connect to a triple pirouette ending in an arabesque.”
Dana Lossing created a highly energetic work to “Lost in the World,” by Kanye West, featuring Bon Iver. In a sharp turn toward the classical, a few cherished variations from Jackie Lee’s Sleeping Beauty are included as well—the only time you’ll see the dancers en pointe. Ellie Goulding’s unapologetically twinkly pop song “Starry Eyed” provides the sonic framework for a polished piece performed by several younger dancers. An untitled work by Silvaggio was in the works, too, upon a recent visit, as was a dance choreographed by Michelle Epperheimer, set to—thank god; I was starting to worry—a sultry, soulful take on The Beatles’ “Come Together."
Arts Editor Anna Weltner knows that one and one and one make three. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.