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Marksman NY Premiere and Touring
The world premiere of a work is rarely the end of its evolution and in the case of Marksman this was especially true. It’s the first time you’re able to see all of the design elements complete the environment of the dance and understand how the reciprocal energy between the audience and the performers will flow. The information we gathered Marksman’s premiere spurred intense studio research and refinement in the 5 months between Marksman’s first performances American Dance Festival and its New York premiere at The Joyce Theatre in November 2017. This allowed us to continue to develop and refine the movement language of Marksman as well as the powerful collaborative elements of that infuse it. Choreographer Kate Weare, composer Curtis Robert Macdonald, visual artist Clifford Ross and lighting designer Mike Faba experimented and resolved, disassembled and reconfigured, contextualized and simplified, a research process that challenged the skills of the artists involved and pushed their work into new territory.
Continuing in partnership with Gibney Dance Center, Kate Weare Company offered a weekly partnering classes taught in rotation by company members that explored the intricate partnering systems of Marksman. In early fall, KWCo’s first appearance in Guggenheim Works & Process offered the public a lively discussion around the creation process for Marksman as well as excerpts of the dance chosen to reveal aspects of the collaborators’ dialogue and development. This platform provided Kate, Clifford, Mike and Curtis the opportunity to share with audiences the ways that their unique ideas and approaches to this work ignited their collaborative creative process.
With the support of a New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project Touring Grant Marksman next toured to American Dance Institute’s final season in Rockville, MD. At ADI, the company was given ample time in the theater that was invaluable in solidifying the evolution of Marksman’s production design elements. Changes to the set and score had space to breathe and settle into the unusual internal rhythms of the dance. The choreography and the score were especially lauded by the press. “Curtis Robert Macdonald’s original score is sparse and otherworldly, with an alto saxophone carrying melodic refrains. A combination of sound design, composition and improvisation, it unfurls deliberately, with plenty of space.” -Theo Boguszewski, The Dance Enthusiast.
Marksman had its New York Premiere at The Joyce Theatre in November 2016 coinciding with a dramatic and gut-wrenching moment in the national landscape, election week . The weekend of shows proved to be a critical success, but perhaps more importantly our incredible dancers – committed to the work and dancing their hearts out – reminded us all of art’s inviolable purpose: to connect us.
“Few dances are as sensual as Weare’s…her dancers generate a heat that seems to come from the glide and pressure and quick brush of skin against skin, and against the skein of air between moving bodies.”
– Deborah Jowitt, Arts Journal Dance Beat
“…those of us lucky enough to attend Weare’s opening were rewarded with the quintessential experience of art – thoughtful contemplation, kinetic exhilaration, and healing.”
– Gus Solomons, Solomon Says
“Marksman is…like a breath: the rush of an inhale, the pause at the top with its acknowledgement of potential, and then the relief of an exhale. It’s a mechanism beyond our control, which motivates and sustains — people and nature inextricably intertwined.”
– Theo Boguszewski, The Dance Enthusiast
“Percussive and ambient, never intrusive, occasionally silent, the sound environment supports the dance without calling attention to itself.”
-Gus Solomons, Jr., Solomons Says.
“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?”
– Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Infinite Body
Marksman’s World Premiere
The world premiere of Kate Weare’s newest work, Marksman, took place in June 2016 at American Dance Festival to critical acclaim. “Many images came to mind during the performance, including a baptism, an exorcism, a creature mothering its young and a wild beast being tamed. The amazingly limber dancers undulated, bounced, spun and fell, often in slow motion, indicating consummate control of every muscle. Weare’s seemingly limitless invention kept the piece moving, each segment lasting just long enough to establish its particular variation on the theme before the combination and mood altered. “Marksman” should prove one of the choreographer’s most significant works.” – Roy C. Dicks, The News & Observer
Marksman then toured in August to Bates Dance Festival with the support of a New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project Touring Grant. These performances were actively framed by lecture demonstrations and daily interaction with students at the festival while Kate Weare and associate director Doug Gillespie taught classes in modern technique, composition and repertory. With generous tech time, Bates also offered Weare and her set designer, the visual artist Clifford Ross, as well as lighting designer Mike Faba, the opportunity to continue exploring and challenging the production world and aesthetics of Marksman.
Curtis Robert Macdonald’s powerful score was likewise in continuous development: “The music, an original score by Curtis Robert Macdonald, is similarly earthy while otherworldly. It’s as if our musical instruments and the urge to create with them existed while our theory and written works did not, leaving musicians to reinvent from a different perspective and sensibility. Integral to the score is a signature instrument for this company: the dancers’ breath. Panting and the rhythmic deep inhaling and exhaling of controlled breathing punctuate spaces of silence throughout Weare’s work. Kate Weare Company stands as an example of what the Bates Dance Festival is all about: a cutting-edge choreographer and a troupe of breathtaking artist-athletes offering both the festival’s student dancers and its audiences a taste of something entirely new.” – Jennifer Brewer, The Portland Press Herald
Next Kate Weare Company partnered with Gibney Dance Center to host a week-long intensive workshop in August, with classes were focusing on composition and performance coaching for professional dancers. Meanwhile the creative and interdisciplinary evolution of Marksman continued in the studio throughout the fall months leading up to the New York premiere at The Joyce Theatre in November 2016.
Marksman, a sextet for 3 women and 3 men, launches Weare into new artistic territory where form yields primary meaning. Based in the concept of nascency, Marksman adopts the metaphor of “aim” to examine how we form ourselves over time and in relationship to each other.
Marksman signals a second close collaboration between Guggenheim-winning choreographer Kate Weare and renowned Canadian composer Curtis Robert Macdonald, building off of their 2015 work Unstruck which premiered at BAM in February 2015 and featured a trio of dancers against the central voice of Macdonald’s solo saxophone.
Weare’s work taps into the power of live performance to combat the constant, contemporary experience of distraction and overstimulation. It is through the medium of dance – the channeling of bodily experience – that Weare returns her audiences to connection and human relationship. Critic Emeri Fetzer wrote of her work, “The feeling on stage is that of total awareness, like right before an attack when ears are perked, hair stands on end and insignificant sound seems explosive. Even the audience seems to lean in a little closer to make sure they don’t miss it.” Marksman heightens this energetic focus, requiring in both performer and viewer a state of fine sensory awareness.
In her research Weare draws on ancient instincts remote from our consciousness yet imperative to our survival, such as peripheral awareness, reflex, synchrony, repulsion and the sheer forcefulness of formation. Marksman mines the heated magnetism and electrical connection between bodies that characterizes Weare’s work, zeroing in on signals we crave about presence, power, attraction, hierarchy and vulnerability. Likewise, Macdonald places fierce and fragile bodily experience at the fore of his compositional research for Marksman. A listener feels Macdonalds’ own experience of his saxophone through breath, tongue, teeth, fingers, lungs – fully audible in the intensity and emotional range of sound he produces.
KWCo is also exploring an initial collaboration with acclaimed visual artist Clifford Ross in the realm of scenic and stage design. This partnership builds on Ross’ invitation to KWCo to perform the 2015 trio Unstruck in conjunction with his installation Water, Waves, Wood at BRIC Arts in Brooklyn in 2015.
Throughout creation and touring KWCo will use material from Marksman to teach workshops both in New York City and nationwide. Partnering with Gibney Dance Center, KWCo teaches a weekly partnering class May – June 2016, and a week-long summer intensive in August incorporating composition and performance coaching for advanced dancers. Additionally, KWCo will invite the public into the studio for an in-process lecture demonstration series called HOTHOUSE. HOTHOUSE offers the opportunity for artists and audiences to actively discuss making, viewing and interpreting dance.
Marksman will be presented presented by co-commissioners American Dance Festival and The Joyce Theater with its world premiere in June 2016. Marksman tours through a New England Foundation for the Arts Touring Grant to Bates Dance Festival, American Dance Institute and ODC Theater. Marksman will return to New York for a Guggenheim Works & Process Showing in the fall and its NY premiere at The Joyce Theater in November 2016.
Start and End Dates
06/21/2016 — 11/13/2016
New York, New York