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The professional dancers and choreographers of Capital Dance Project create original dance pieces for "Behind the Barre."
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Capital Dance Project Gets “Sensory-Friendly”

When Capital Dance Project launched three years ago, it was considered an instant success, as an opportunity for artists of the visual, musical and dance realms to work together to challenge the limits of their creativity. On August 25, CDP hopes to break through some challenges of autism as it stages Sacramento’s first “sensory-friendly” performance at the Crest Theatre.

According to Alexandra Cunningham, a co-founder of CDP, the performance will create “an environment of acceptance and understanding by reducing loud or shocking sounds and flashing lights which can overstimulate sensory-sensitive individuals.”

The performance will include slightly modified excerpts from the original “Behind the Barre: Made in Sacramento” program, which Julia Feldman, a CDP dancer and choreographer, expressed to be an appropriate adaptation.

“CDP will create an environment for families to experience a live dance performance and enjoy quality time without having to worry if someone will complain or be disturbed,” said Feldman.

For this special performance — at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, at the Crest Theatre — certain changes to regular theater protocol will be in place. The house lights will remain lit during the show, while sound levels will be lower and headphones will be available. Trained behavior therapists and volunteers will be on hand and there will be a safe space in the lobby where fidget toys, bean bag chairs, books and games will be available.

The project is a community outreach collaboration between CDP and the Sacramento Kings. Tickets are specially priced ($5 per person) and can be purchased online at Kings.com/Capital Dance. The Kings organization suggests people might want to buy a couple of extra tickets to be donated to families with sensory related disabilities, “most of whom do not attend performances due to cost and other circumstances.”

Meanwhile, back at the Barre

It is roughly a month before “Behind the Barre: Made in Sacramento” will be performed — shows will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27 — but there is plenty of work to be done. The nine dancer/choreographers of CDP have hardly recovered from their regular season dancing with the Sacramento Ballet — and now they are working on another challenging project of creating original dances to be performed by their fellow CDP members. Add to that the collaborations with exciting Sacramento visual artists and musicians, and the enormity of the job becomes evident.

Each CDP member has chosen an artist and/or musician to jointly create a world premiere work of art. Among them, Julia Feldman is working with rapper Paul Willis. Stefan Calka is collaborating with jazz musician and composer Harley White Jr. and artist Raphael Delgado.

“The conversations we’ve had so far have been very thought provoking and also very open and reactive to each other’s ideas,” said Calka. “The piece, as it sits right now, I think, will be about communication, about how we receive and give information to each other.”

Christopher Nachtrab is collaborating with pianist and composer Mandy Zee.

“Back in June, we were able to sit down and discuss our ideas for a completely original piece,” said Zee. “Since that time she has composed a beautiful and ethereal piece of music that has me eager to get in the studio and begin creating.”

Nachtrab said he hopes to incorporate Zee into the structure of the dance piece.

Tickets to Behind the Barre: Made in Sacramento are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show. Tickets are sold online through Ticketfly (link from www.capitaldanceproject.org), but facility and service fees bring the total to $33.48.  Tickets may be purchased in person (n additional fees) at New Helvetia Brewing Company, 1730 Broadway; Identity Coffee, 1430 28th St.; and The Trade Coffee and Co-Working, 2220 K St. Tickets also will be available at the Crest box office, 1013 K St.

Some money would be nice

CDP also is in the process of raising $20,000 to cover expenses such as theater rental, advertising and production costs, and — perhaps most importantly, as Cunningham has said, “to ensure that dancers, choreographers, artists and musicians are able to make a livable wage.”

Donations may be made online by going to CapitalDanceProject.org and clicking the donate link. Checks can be accepted if made out to Friends of the Arts Commission with Capital Dance Project in the memo field and mailed to Capital Dance Project, 2111 24th St., Sacramento 9588

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About the author

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes has masters degrees in English and journalism and is a former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in popular culture at Stanford University. He has covered Sacramento arts and entertainment for more than 20 years. He currently writes about and reviews theater, dance, music and events in the Sacramento area.

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