Kate Weare and Company “Marksman”

Kate Weare Company ODC, SF

Oct 5-7, 2017

Hitting the “Mark(s)”

Kate Weare is a local Oakland/Berkeley woman whose work has been seen here in SF since her company’s founding in 2005. She is an award winning, now a “New York”choreographer, whose work has been well noted and praised for “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 and three men and three women of the company, 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 and space and time. In what seems to be at least fifteen sections, “Marksman” embodies encounters between men/women duets, men/men duets, trios of all combinations, the full group of six and occasionally brilliant solos. Arching the upper body backwards seems to be a movement theme: the dancer is thus vulnerable to a sharp attack which might happen with a finger, a hand, a knee or the whole body. Any attack leads too counter-attack, yet these, those aggressive, find continuing responsive movements that are both supportive and pleasing.

There is a continual focus on detailed movement phrases that then dissolve into group locomotion. Space patterns can cover the whole stage and then on one downstage circle or center stage duet. The dancers move through the space as if to clear it for the next encounter. Each dancer has a solo, though some of these last only moments. Outstanding solos were performed 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 and sound for a variety of instruments was constructed in collaboration with We are by saxophonist Curtis Robert Macdonald. The score both amplified the dancers’ activities and intensified episodes. Special congratulations are to be given to the lighting design by Mike Faba. With so many intriguing episodes to see, his lighting focused and supported the many special, spacial shapes and brought clarity to design. The costumes were grey pants and shirts for the men but the women wore intriguing tops which reveal 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 will return to ODC in 2018. Her company brings a very sophisticated and expanded sense of dance skills and deeply explored and researched choreography performed by gorgeously skilled performers. Watch for them with anticipation of where they can go from here!

Joanna G. Harris

From left: Nicole Diaz, Kayla Farrish, Ryan Rouland Smith and Thryn Saxon in Kate Weare’s Marksman.
Photo by Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang