DanceForce Member: Cynthia Williams
Artist: Kate Weare
Community Partner: Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Geneva NY
Kate Weare Company was in residence at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY March 17-22, 2017. The first part of the residency included creative time for Kate Weare to work with dancers on a new piece, and the second half of the residency featured the full company teaching master classes and performing “Marksman,” a full evening length piece in Deming Dance Theatre. The goals of the project were three fold: to provide Weare with creative time to develop new material, to offer master classes in technique and partnering, and to bring cutting edge contemporary dance to the Finger Lakes.
Principal artists included Kate Weare with assistant director Douglas Gillespie and six additional dancers. The planning process started in January, 2016 with conversations with Weare, executive director Kiera Chang, and Elsie Management. This was the company’s second residency at HWS Colleges, and our first guest company in our new Performing Arts Center. Planning continued through spring 2017 when the final structure was agreed upon. Weare held one open rehearsal March 19 working with her two dancers, company members taught two master classes: modern dance technique 3/20 and partnering 3/21, an open dress rehearsal 3/21, the performance of “Marksman” 3/22, and an artist/audience talk back following the performance.
Promotional and marketing activities included production and distribution of posters, newsletter/eblast announcements, press release via HWS website, local and area newspapers, and an interview with Kate Weare that ran on our PBS affiliate, WEOS. The partnership with the HWS Dance Department continued strongly. Guest artist residencies are an important contribution to the upstate NY community in terms of arts and culture: it is a rural, economically underserved community with little exposure to contemporary dance. The new performing arts center is a draw for community members and we hope to continue attracting new audiences.
Weare appreciated the opportunity to work creatively describing in her interview the benefits of this artistic residency: “There’s this wonderful inner/outer dynamic in these kinds of residencies… sometimes working with students who are aspiring helps bring a kind of ease and more compassion into the room, even within the company’s rehearsals.” Weare also left Geneva with hundreds of photographs of her company, taken by HWS photographer Kevin Colton. Weare intends to use Colton’s photographs in up-coming publicity and marketing materials. Community members who attended the workshops and performance noted “The piece was enthralling and included visceral reactions from the audience that left them in stunned silence…the partnering work was extremely complex and creative but still looked effortless,” and “the class with the Kate Weare Company really engaged my understanding of grounding and my relationship to the floor…the idea of partnering with the floor (as suggested by Thryn Saxon) resonated with me…working and yielding to the floor made my movements less effortful and there was a sense of ease and mobility when regarding the floor as a partner.” The students, audience, and company members praised the residency for the diverse experiences, activities and interactions it brought.