In 2006, I shared a split bill with Ivy Baldwin at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW). My work, the 50-minute Wet Road, was performed by Jason Dietz Marchant, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Adrian Clark and Leslie Kraus, with myself in the role of a female skeptic/observer.
Wet Road was an attempt to describe the ambivalence and trepidation that accompanies desire by exploring the human body as both an obstacle and a pathway. Fragile balances, the trapping of limbs, and an often displaced central axis characterized the movement language and partnering for Wet Road. At the time I was studying Argentine tango, and was fascinated by its technical challenges and metaphoric power.
Desire is a pervasive theme in contemporary life, influencing our choices, actions and attitudes, especially in the realm of self-worth. Young women, in particular, remain powerfully conflicted about their identity as sexual beings in a culture of individualism and still-pervasive gender inequality.
What is it about female sexuality that so bewitches and threatens human beings? Wet Road sought to explore this complex world through its maze of propriety, taboo and fantasy.
Women are sexual beings with as much intensity as men are. When I made Wet Road, I was searching for what felt genuine for me about our changing roles in sex and sexuality, our fears and entrenched assumptions, our fantasies and deeper wishes. I still feel very strongly about this subject matter. I’m still searching for authenticity within it.
Making Wet Road, I was influenced by many artists who have grappled with the female experience of sexuality: Nina Simone, Sharon Olds, Doris Lessing, Pina Bausch, Paula Rego. I was also deeply influenced by my beginning studies of Argentine tango. The basis of tango depends on each partner’s ability and willingness to share a central axis, and even though I was a professional dancer, I did not anticipate how much a true “sharing of the center” could threaten my sense of self.
In tango, I had to learn to yield a substantial degree of physical autonomy in order to support the larger flow of the dance with my partner. This yielding of self for a greater whole suddenly became the basis in my mind for healthy connection. Wet Road was an exploration of my own charged feelings around relationship: the delicate attempt to yield one’s center and yet remain oneself, a theme that still lives in my dances today.
Wet Road premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in New York from March 1-4, 2006 and was originally commissioned by the Bessie Schonberg/First Light Commissioning Program of Dance Theater Workshop with funds from The Jerome Foundation of St. Paul, MN.
Kate Weare Company is celebrating its 10 year anniversary, February 19-22, 2015. Our BAM performance season will feature past favorites as well as the world premiere of Kate's Unstruck. Learn more and buy tickets at bam.org/kateweareco10
Photos of Wet Road by Schreiber
Dancers: Lindsey Dietz-Marchant, Adrian Clark, Leslie Kraus, Jason Marchant