Saturday, July 11, 2009

Review - Kate Weare Company


Relationships are filled with many emotions and can bring much happiness as well as much pain. Saturday night's performance of the Kate Weare Company at the Bates Dance Festival featured dance that showed the complexity of working through how we get along with other people.

Dance is such a wonderful medium using physicality and movement to convey ideas. When the topic is relationships, there are so many ways to use the body to tell a story that so many of us experience on a day-to-day basis. Kate Weare is seriously interested in how we get along as couples, as friends, as lovers. She has been there and as a choreographer is ready to share her insights.

The program featured two dances, her latest 2009 work Lean-To and her 2008 Bridge of Sighs a quartet danced by Adrian Clark, Douglas Gillespie, Leslie Kraus and Ms. Weare. These exceptional dancers found themselves moving in and out of all kinds of adversarial yet loving encounters. Bridge of Sighs begins with a couple standing face to face and suddenly the woman punches his chest with both hands and then slaps his hip and arm all in quick succession. He then slaps her. They move with raw powerful speed accented by stop action stillness where the audience gets to soak in all that they’ve just witnessed. The frozen moment is like a snapshot. Then they continue with more intensity. Is this love? Is this a power struggle? Who has the upper hand it's hard to tell. Weare is adept at making the audience have to work to figure out who is supposed to be with whom. At first the man and woman are a pair, but then the other man is nudging his way in, and then the two men seem to be interested in only one another and then the two women are really steamy together. The lightning by Brian Jones and the music by One Ring Zero added to the dark yet eerily familiar feel of exploring how far to push without pushing someone away.

Intimacy and neediness were explored in Lean-To. Weare again used her dancers strength and grace to show how it can be a struggle to giving into another person's embrace. Do we lose ourselves when we rely on another person? Weare asks us to consider if we can lean on someone and still be strong. The trio danced with powerful lushness that made the audience hold it's breath as the dancers swooped and lifted each other with deliberate and concerned intention.

This young company is one to keep your eyes on.

Saturday July 11, Bates Dance Festival opening night at the Schaeffer Theater in Lewiston, Maine. Top photo by Tom Caravaglia.

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