Thursday, November 10, 2016

Kate Weare takes aim: New York premiere of "Marksman"

Kate Weare Company in Marksman (photo: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang)

Weare draws inspiration from Eugen Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery, “The [master] marksman aims at himself….”
          --from publicity for Marksman 

As Kate Weare Company begins Marksman, two dancers stand close to each other on the open Joyce Theater stage. The woman bends away from the man, her supple torso sprung and hanging backward towards the floor. It's an odd shape, billowing yet tense as a bow and the pulled string of a bow. Its design, like all that follow over the coming hour, emphasizes form and heft more than literal meaning. This dancer is the first piece you might pluck from the jumbled pile in a jigsaw puzzle box. She's vividly three-dimensional, though, and abstract. You eye her irregular edge and see how it might belong with that other curious piece over there. And, in fact, from the audience's point of view, the two dancers fit together; one slips in front of the other to create the illusion of a multi-limbed body.

In Kate Weare's statement about the work, citing all she has learned from nature and childbirth, she writes about her sense that "we are always forming while being formed, playing while being played, aiming while being aimed." Nature, in other words, works its powerful will through us despite our belief that we are in control.

In Marksman, Weare makes silky beauty out of a flow of oddities and oddballs, puzzle pieces with shapes that conveniently function well together in every fleeting moment. A sudden, well-placed touch or flick of the hand, one dancer to another, propels a cascade of undulant reactions in the receiver's body. At times, Weare shows us two pairs of dancers, side by side, each pair performing identical luxuriant sequences. Their "marksman" selves must stay alert and attuned because both dancer and environment are always changing.

The troupe--including newcomers Kayla Farrish and Thryn Saxon--performs with lovely skill and cohesion. Watching Marksman, I had a funny thought. When it comes time to nudge your friends past the likes of, say, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or New York City Ballet, why not gently suggest Kate Weare Company, with its true choreographic rigor and sensuous pleasures, as a good next step?

Kate Weare Company: Julian De LeonNicole Diaz, Kayla Farrish, Douglas Gillespie, Thryn Saxon and Ryan Rouland Smith

Curtis Macdonald (original music and sound)
Clifford Ross (set)
Mike Faba (lighting)
Brooke Cohen (costumes)

Marksman continues through Sunday, November 13. Tonight's program will feature a Curtain Chat. For information and tickets, click here.

The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (corner of 19th Street), Manhattan

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