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CORE Performance Company celebrates 25 years 

Atlanta's longest-running modern dance company gives free performances to mark its anniversary

AROUND THE BEND: CORE dancers perform The Point

Mark Teague

AROUND THE BEND: CORE dancers perform The Point

Find a wall with plenty of blank space. Get some colored pencils. Now "draw lines, not short, not straight, crossing and touching, drawn at random using four colors, uniformly dispersed with maximum density, covering the entire surface of the wall."

There. You've just made "Line Drawing #65" by the great 20th century artist Sol LeWitt. In the late '60s, LeWitt conceived of a series of conceptual works that weren't physical objects but sets of instructions.

But what if instead of using pencils or paints to follow his instructions, artists used dance? What if the lines — "not short, not straight" — were made with movement? That's the idea behind CORE Performance Company's The Point, which takes as its inspiration LeWitt's instructions for "Line Drawing #65."

The Point is one of CORE's classic, definitive works, and it will be presented Sept. 17-18 at Decatur High School to celebrate 25 years of the company's innovative contemporary work.

Artistic director Sue Schroeder founded the company in her native Houston in 1980 and moved CORE to Decatur in 1986. During that decade's oil crisis and Houston's economic troubles, CORE lost space and funding in Texas. A friend of Schroeder's from the Atlanta area offered her space here. His family owned an abandoned building in what was then a run-down part of town: downtown Decatur. "I was a young artist and I was like, 'Give me a space and I'll use a hallway!'" says Schroeder.

The company had generated a fair amount of energy and support in Houston and kept roots there even as it developed new ones in Atlanta. The company still performs regularly in both cities, often appearing as much in Houston as in Atlanta. "It was trial and error for a number of years to figure out how to make a two-city company work," says Schroeder. "It went through quite an evolution."

One of the keys to CORE's longevity has been the group's focus on consensus, says Schroeder. Although Schroeder has final say, aesthetic and even practical decisions emerge through a process of debate and discussion among equals, she says. CORE also gives dancers a lot of freedom to explore their own projects, even allowing them use of the space to rehearse and perform on their own.

In honor of the company, the city of Decatur has declared September 17 official CORE Day. To celebrate 25 years, Schroeder says the company wanted to perform for free in downtown Decatur. "It's our gift back to the city," she says.

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