Kelli Leighton is the Artist in Residence of the 2018 Dance and Movement Workshop for Dance Educators.
Kelli Leighton is the founder and Artistic Director of the Sacramento region’s premier dance company, CORE Contemporary Dance, which launched in 2007. In 2009, Kelli’s work “Living for Today” was awarded “Audience Favorite” at the Vision Series 10th Anniversary performance in San Francisco, and was well received at the MAD/BAD Performance and Film Festival in Concord, CA. Kelli Leighton created the first commissioned dance work for the Crocker Art Museum in 2011, based on the work of Gottfried Helnwein. CORE performed her piece “Doll” at the International White Wave Dance Festival in NY, September 2011. Kelli Leighton was awarded 2nd place at the International Choreographer’s Competition 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA for her work “Home”. Kelli was also a finalist in the 2013 for professional division with CORE and winner for pre-professional division with LDP Students in 2016 at Choreography Competition in Palm Desert, CA.
In 2013 Kelli opened Leighton Dance Project, a performing arts center educating over 400 students; all dance forms ages 2-adult. Kelli has been the recipient of several choreography awards at regional and National competitions with her LDP students. Kelli was awarded Dance Educator of the Year for the Sacramento region, 2012 & 2013. LDP was awarded Best of Sacramento, Dance Studio category; 2014 & 2015. Her students have gone on to dance professionally across the county and have attended top colligate programs.
Kelli finds inspiration in the human experience and in the bonds that people form through movement. Her vision for CORE and LDP is to promote a healthy professional environment where dancers of all experiences come together to inspire each other and enrich their surrounding community. She is most proud of her extensive work in the community outreach programming through CORE. Kelli’s unique athletic contemporary style along with a contagious passion and energy for dance has made her one of the most sought after master teachers and choreographers.