Kate Weare Company took me for quite the roller coaster ride last week…
I have to be honest, I’m having a hard time writing this one, there are so many layers that developed both on and off the stage…so bear with me as I try to sort everything through.Let me just say for the record…I loved the experience as a whole.. (Keep that in mind as I stumble through the rest of this post)
I’d say “tension” is the most accurate description of the company’s performance quality; so much tension in the movement, breathing, touching, eye contact; you couldn’t help but wonder when off the stage, who’s touching whom, who’s looking at whom, and how can I get in the middle of it all? I found their lecture demonstration at the beginning of the week to be just the right amount of seductive to leave me wanting more…and boy did I want more
I have a pretty serious crush on all of the dancers individually
*Please note that at the time, Kate was like 99% preggs…like baby popping out at any moment. Needless to say, she was not able to make it to Bates.*
Not having a class during the first session of the day, I often found myself having breakfast with the dancers…well not technically with the dancers…but across the room. In my head, we had a secret breakfast club that everyone else was jealous of. I found that watching the dancers interact in every day life made the awaited performance that much more intriguing. The work is so intimate that it was both alarming and startling to see anyone outside of their immediate circle break through to talk to them in the dining hall
Why are you intruding on the untouchable, sexy-circle of love, stranger????
Anyways, on to the performance…
The first piece The Light Has Not The Arms to Carry Us (2006) began with Bergen Wheeler rolling and twisting her (perfect) body through and around a strip of light thrown across the floor. Her swift strength was mesmerizing, and her fluid shaping promised a sophisticated progression of movement to come. As TJ Spaur and Doug Gillespie joined her into a trio of unison (originally choreographed as a triptych of three female solos), their ticking hands and audible breathing lulled me into a trancelike state; Kate has such an eye for staging relationships that evolve and morph into subtle and seductive patterns. Eventually Wheeler disappeared into the wings, leaving TJ and Doug to man it out duet style (again, movement originally intended for female bodies). While gazing into each others eyes and moving in and between unison/partnering, there was ironically something so strong and masculine about this section. There was such a strong presence of trust and focus, that the sight of these two men supporting each other’s movement was just striking.
As for Drop Down (2006), sexuality was inevitably a factor in the work; you could literally cut the sexual-tension between and Leslie Kraus and Luke Murphy with a knife. Heavily influenced by a classic tango vocabulary, the dancers’ legs played an intricate game of chess, all the while staring intensely into each others eyes and aggressively grabbing one another with their hands. At one point, Leslie lay on the stage holding Murphy’s ankles, responding back and forth as he jabbed around her trying to escape her grasp. He eventually collapsed over her into what can only be described as (the fine line between) sex and domestic violence, maybe both? The power dynamic between the two surprisingly wavered back and forth; Luke obviously held the dominant role in physical stature, but it was Leslie who sat back and watched as he punched around the stage trying to get a grip. This piece was that much more intriguing after seeing the two interact in real life, especially knowing that Leslie’s married. Where does all of that tension come from?…you can’t find that intensity in rehearsals if it’s not already available…just saying.
The last piece, Garden (2011) was an eclectic shmörgåsbord of the previous work…but I’m not entirely sure it was meant to be; this is where the questionable disconnect surfaced. I knew to anticipate phrase material from the first piece, but the other connections were harder to settle into. This was the longest piece of the evening where familiar partnerships were revisited and the even more familiar (tense) movement quality was reestablished, but….were Leslie and Luke still love/hating?–I thought they were done before intermission? What’s going on with Bergen and Doug?–Where did TJ go?–Wait, why does TJ have a matching costume for the bow even though he never appeared anywhere in this entire piece? I think I felt a comfortable resolution for both pieces in the first act, that the odd familiarities within Garden weren’t entirely clear, or established.
Kate has definitely found a home in her intricate partnering/gestures/breathing/stomping. There is such specificity when it comes to her choreography, that the ease in which dancers settled into the movement was truly astounding. This company held such a presence on campus for the week they were here, that I’m basically left shaking my head in awe.