Just in time for the summer heat to set in, Trolley Dances 2013 rehearsals have begun to take shape in the studio and on site in Downtown and Barrio Logan. Still, there is one group of Trolley Dancers eagerly awaiting the beginning of this year’s process. The cast for Kate Watson-Wallace’s piece will have a lot of work to do when she arrives from Philadelphia just a week before the performances begin.
For our first installment of Trolley Dances 2013 ‘Choreographer’s Corner, ’we can share some insight from Kate Watson-Wallace. We are thrilled to welcome Philadelphia-based choreographer Kate Watson-Wallace to our Trolley Dance family. Jean saw her CAR in Philly a few years ago and has not forgotten her work. She is pleased to bring Kate to San Diego for her first Trolley Dance. Kate has received numerous awards for her choreography including: A Pew Fellowship in the Arts in Choreography, and funding from Map Fund, and a Doris Duke Exploration grant through Creative Capital. She has choreographed music videos, danced with Headlong Dance Theater and been commissioned to make dances on ballet companies, corporate events, and art festivals. She currently co-directs anonymous bodies // art collective with Jaamil Kosoko. They have shown work at venues nationally and internationally.
Q: Please give us a brief history of your dance career.
I am a choreographer and visual artist. I create site-based installation. Works include HOUSE, a performance for 15 audience members inside an abandoned row home; CAR, a performance for 4 audience members who sit inside a moving vehicle; STORE, a performance installation inside an abandoned mega-store; Flash Mob, a flash mob for 100 community members; Everywhere, a participatory on-line dance experience and contest; and Mash Up Body, a new installation created in collaboration with musician Christopher Sean Powell, under the mentorship of Miguel Gutierrez.
I am excited to work with a new community of dancers. I am excited about the amazing climate in San Diego and getting to dance around all day in a new space. The Monarch School seems like a pretty amazing place, so it is an honor to make work there. I feel blessed anytime somebody pays me to make a dance, especially in this financial climate (Thanks Jean!).
Q: What is exciting about site-specific choreography to you?
Ideally, it is non-elitist. By that, I mean, there is more access. Passersby can see it. Ticketed guests can see it. It emphasizes the notion that dance happens anywhere and everywhere (which we sometimes forget in concert dance). It dismantles the inherent and unspoken cultural narratives/rules that play out in the theater. It enlivens public space. Hopefully, if it is a good dance, it transforms the audience’s perspective on what a place can mean, what history has happened there, and their own relationship to that.
Q: What drew you to the site that you chose?
I’ve been obsessing about circles, things that are circular. I don’t have a linear way of thinking at all, so circles make more sense to me. A circular space suggests community and conversation, instead of frame and presentation. The audience can see each other this way. There is grass. I liked the noises that the instrument made in the space. Any space that has kids riding their bikes around in it has good energy, and that is always good for making a dance.
Q: What themes are you exploring while creating your new piece?
I never really know the content of the work until I see what people bring to the space/who they are/ how they work together. I do know that the audience will most likely be in the round. I will work with proximity- closeness and distance – from audience to performer. I will explore audience and performer choreography- something around ritual and conjuring.
It means whatever you think it does. You are free to experience this on all kinds of levels– intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, physically– just go with the flow.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration for new work?
Listening to electro, indie, rap, and electronic music. Obsessisvely watching music videos. Drag queens. Marina Abromovich, Grace Jones, Ann Liv Young, Pina, Anna Teres. Night clubs. Kim Gordon. Swimming. My boyfriend. Feminist and queer theory. Architecture. David Lynch. Pedro Amodovar. Runway shows.
Q: What is your favorite part of the choreographic process?
The moment when, usually about an hour or two into an improvisation, when the dancers are in the zone, they let go, and interesting things really start to happen.
We are excited to see what develops for her Trolley Dance!Join us for this year’s Trolley Dances on September 28th & 29th, and October 5th & 6th.
Get your tickets early at: http://sandiegodancetheater.org/trolleydances2013.html