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      Douglas Gillespie and Leslie Kraus from Kate Weare Company in Splice: ad hoc ballet/Kate Weare Company
      Photo by Florence Baratay
      Douglas Gillespie and Leslie Kraus from Kate Weare Company
    Light and Dark, Boys and Girls

    DNA splices opposites: Kate Weare Company and ad hoc ballet


    Sexy is a word that gets routinely tossed onto magazine covers, advertising copy and almost anything these days, but sexy is the best word to sum Kate Weare's portion of the Splice program at DNA she shared with Deborah Lohse. Sexy, as in a certain combination of sexual and playful, something fleeting and elusive with the quick soft violence of tango.

    Choreography by: Kate Weare and Deborah Lohse.
    Dancers: Kate Weare Company: Adrian Clark, Douglas Gillespie, Leslie Kraus, Kate Weare ad hoc Ballet: Deborah Lohse, Anna Bass, Amy Brandt, Elizabeth Brown, Jeanie Clay, Heidi Green, Hannah Kim, Megan McKenna, Donna Salgado, Vanessa Salgado, Tammi Shamblin, Candice Thompson, Ursula Verduzco, Amanda Waal.
    Production design by: ad hoc: Amanda Waal.
    Art direction by: ad hoc: Amanda Waal.
    Costumes by: ad hoc: Amanda Waal.
    Lighting design by: Amanda Ringger.
    ad hoc Playwright: Kobun Kaluza.
    Splice: ad hoc Ballet/Kate Weare Company DNA May 1-4, 2008

    "Framework", described as a series of short studies in identity, relationship and presence, began in this program with a solo by a sharp and emphatic Leslie Kraus, whose simple head-bobbings in and around the music to start the piece were enough to convince an audience that this would be an interesting solo. Leg-knifing spins down to the floor and a kneeling, cheek-to-the-floor position set up a style of movement, energy and suggestion that Weare develops fully in the next six group segments. Kraus, Weare and their male collaborators Douglas Gillespie and Adrian Clark make a wonderfully mixed and matched quartet of dancers, fully at ease with and on top of the well defined aesthetic Weare has created over several years, all equally adept at the quick partnering interactions that make the sturdy "framework" for Weare's various explorations.

    Deborah Lohse of ad hoc Ballet in Splice: ad hoc ballet/Kate Weare Company
    Photo by Florence Baratay
    Deborah Lohse of ad hoc Ballet

    Some moments in the duet "Arch" have the seamless speed and coordination of schoolgirl handclap games and the physicality of contact improvisation simultaneously and others feel like tango taken over the top. Gillespie now dances the part that Karl Anderson created, and the piece feels just as impressive as it first did.

    The trio "Hall" is in part a classic 'boy and girl meet another boy who then tries to steal girl/dominate boy', but it is done so well and refreshingly that it doesn't feel done before.

    The female duo "Bridge" is full of beautiful partnering and dynamic contrasts between slow and quick, with more tango leg-flicking and a country music feel.

    The male duo "Door" brings the soft violence that has peeked out in the preceding pieces more fully into the open, with plenty of aggressive leg-locking and more intentional bumping and slapping contact, and the quartet that follows takes the slapping further and across gender lines. It feels heated throughout, and the soft, silent, almost postcoital ending of a spent couple is beautiful.

    Elizabeth Brown, Amy Brandt and Candice Thompson in Monogrammed in Splice: ad hoc ballet/Kate Weare Company
    Photo by Florence Baratay
    Elizabeth Brown, Amy Brandt and Candice Thompson in "Monogrammed"

    The final duet, also in silence, is fought in bright light as a stomping slapfest. Gillespie and Kraus seem intent on wearing each other out or just upping the wattage between themselves. It's fun and bracing and a great high-energy ending for the suite of pieces Kate Weare Company put into "Framework."

    Deborah Lohse's single, large-scale piece "Monogrammed" takes a devolutionary view of wedding planning and expectations, opening with a deft comic monologue by Lohse as possession-possessed bride-to-be and ending with an unhinged Lohse wallowing in the detritus of her wedding. It is never a pretty piece, though thirteen devolving bridesmaids in slips or less, covering the stage and themselves in flour in the process, have a certain depraved feminine sexuality, sexy in a far darker sense than the sexy that opened the evening. "Monogrammed" seems to sink so low that the whole concept of a wedding becomes a bleak conceit, possibly even a destructive force.

    The split combination of Kate Weare Company and Deborah Lohse/Ad Hoc Ballet turned out for this program to be a split between yang and yin or between ascending and descending, both powerful to watch.

    MAY 6, 2008

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