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A Day in the Life with Kate Weare

A Day in the Life with Kate Weare

By Stacey Menchel Kussell

Published on March 22, 2013
Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

Territorial Fights and Earthly Delights:

Kate Weare’s Garden

March 22, 2013

Kate Weare's Garden will be performed at the 92nd Street Y March 22nd-24th
for tickets and times, click here


By Stacey Menchel Kussell for The Dance Enthusiast

Kate Weare loves a good power struggle. Garden, which opens on March 22nd at the 92nd Street Y, during the last week of the 92nd Street Y's Harkness Dance Festival, is a study of authority and control. “There is an electricity in human interactions full of mercurial changes and contradictions,” said Weare. “Through the different pairings, this piece looks not only at how we interact with each other, but also how we organize ourselves and handle the unknown.”

The set is minimal and ominous. There is an upside down tree hanging from the ceiling and a tree stump on the forefront of the stage. This is not the lush garden of a royal palace – it is the abandoned, muted setting of a nightmare.

Kate Weare's Garden; Photo Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang


While slow, somber piano music opens the piece, the choreography starts out vibrant and frenetic. The movement is both wild and contained. The dancers’ torsos are pendulums, swinging freely and then stopping on a dime. Their arms slice through the air, precise as scalpels and fierce as swords.

Visually, the piece is abstract. The dancers wear pared down white and mint green pedestrian dresses and shorts. The duets, trios, and solos dig deep into the human psyche, exploring intimacy and touch. Fiery animals ready to charge, the two men and two women test each other’s strength and dominance of the space.

“In many ways Garden is a jarring piece,” said Weare. “There is a lot of tension and paradox. The ideas flip against each other and make you question what came before.”
 

Kate Weare's Garden; Photo Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang


Weare uses a series of diverse musical selections as varied as ambient electronic sound, seductive Spanish vocals, and chanson of the French Renaissance musician Claudin de Sermisy. The music has a narrative effect. Each song is a different chapter in the story. Whether the viewer is watching a pastoral Botticelli painting, or a stark, surrealistic dystopia, they experience the lineage of human behavior through time.

Raised by a family of visual artists, Weare landscapes her choreography with vine-like forms and architectural designs. The piece’s name itself suggests a myriad of allusions – biblical, environmental, industrial, and organic – and these elements blend together in striking ways.
 

Kate Weare's Garden; Photo Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

“I created the piece around the time my company reached the seven-year mark,” said Weare. “I started to think about how my work had grown over the years. As a choreographer you cultivate your company much like tending a garden.”
 

Kate Weare's Garden; Photo Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

Originally from Northern California, Weare practiced martial arts since childhood. She diversifies her dance vocabulary with elements of Balinese dance, West African dance, and classical ballet. She also extensively studied social dance and tango, which sparked her interest in intricate, weaving partnering.

Weare is in the process of creating a new work, Dark Lark, which will debut later this year. At the moment she reveals feeling lost and overwhelmed in the process. “This is usually how I feel when I create a new piece,” said Weare. “When the fear creeps in, you know you are on the right track. It means you are pushing yourself somewhere new.”


Stacey Menchel Kussell is a journalist who writes on dance, Jewish history, and international affairs. She is currently directing Renewal, a documentary film about dance and environmental activism.

 

Footnotes
For More Information on Kate Weare
For More Information on dance at the 92nd Street Y

 

 

 

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