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Kate Weare Company's Latest Work Hits the Mark at ODC Theater

by Joanna G. Harris
October 8, 2017
ODC Theater
3153 17th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9834
Joanna G. Harris Author, Beyond Isadora: Bay Area Dancing, 1916-1965. Regent Press, Berkeley, CA, 2009. Contributor to reviews on culturevulture.net
Kate Weare is an award-winning local (Oakland/Berkeley) choreographer whose work has been seen here in San Francisco since her company, Kate Weare Company’s founding in 2005. Now considered a “New York” choreographer, her works have been well noted and praised for their “intimate encounters, forceful, unabashedly sensual negotiations that can resemble wrestling matches or martial-arts battles.” (The New Yorker). Despite the continual push-pull encounters between the three men and three women of the company October 5-7 at the ODC Theater in her new work Marksman, the overall impression is that of searching, seeking and ultimately finding satisfying resolutions.

Weare, in an after-performance discussion spoke of "action-reaction," finding and letting go of control, and about form, space and time. In what seemed to be at least fifteen sections, Marksman embodied encounters between men and women in duets, all male duets, trios of all combinations, and full company group sections with the occasional brilliant solo tossed in for good measure.

Arching the upper body backwards seemed to be a movement theme: the dancer was then vulnerable to a sharp attack which might happen with a finger, a hand, a knee or an entire body. Any attack led to a counter-attack, yet these, though aggressive, found continuing responsive movements that were both supportive and pleasing.

There was a continual focus on detailed movement phrases that then dissolved into group locomotion. Spatial patterns covered the whole stage and then settled on one downstage circle or center stage duet. The dancers moved through the space as if to clear it for the next encounter. Each dancer had a solo, though some of these last only moments. Outstanding performances were given by Douglas Gillespie and Kayla Farrish, though all the dancers, Julian De Leon, Nicole Diaz, Thryn Saxon and Ryan Rouland Smith, had outstanding virtuoso interludes.

The original music for a variety of instruments and sound was constructed in collaboration with Weare by saxophonist Curtis Robert Macdonald. The score both amplified the dancers’ activities and intensified episodes in the work. Special congratulations are to be given to the lighting design of Mike Faba. With so many intriguing sections to see, his lighting focused, supported and brought further clarity to work. The costumes were grey pants and shirts for the men but the women wore intriguing tops which revealed their bare backs, spine, scapulas, necks and shoulders. For this reviewer it is a great treat to watch the anatomy of dancers at work.

Weare and company will return to the ODC Theater in 2018 bringing with them once again Weare's deeply explored and researched choreography performed by gorgeously skilled dancers.
From left: Nicole Diaz, Kayla Farrish, Ryan Rouland Smith and Thryn Saxon in Kate Weare's 'Marksman.'

From left: Nicole Diaz, Kayla Farrish, Ryan Rouland Smith and Thryn Saxon in Kate Weare's "Marksman."

Photo © & courtesy of Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

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