Danc­ing to­gether, mov­ing apart

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Reviews -

It’s swan-song time for Santa Fe’s tini­est dance com­pany. Two Women Danc­ing, aka Julie Brette Adams and Kate Eberle, of­fers its fifth and fi­nal sea­son this week­end and next at Santa Fe Play­house.

“Life is fluid,” Eberle said dur­ing an in­ter­view with both dancers that in­cluded an in-stu­dio per­for­mance of sev­eral works they will be pre­sent­ing. “I like to change. I have this pen­chant for rein­ven­tion. Pro­duc­ing dance con­certs is no longer what I want to do.”

“It’s a loss for me,” said Adams. “I feel sad­ness. It re­minds me that ev­ery­thing changes, ev­ery­thing is a process.”

With a clear end­ing in sight, how­ever, the chore­og­ra­phers say that the act of cre­at­ing their last sea­son has yielded riches. “This is our best con­cert,” Eberle said, and Adams agreed: “We’re per­form­ing at our peaks. We’ve grown tech­ni­cally, and we know how to ex­pe­ri­ence move­ment to­gether.”

They first met in 2002 at Fort Marcy Com­plex, where Adams was teach­ing a dance class. Eberle, who had danced pro­fes­sion­ally in Illi­nois and New York City be­fore mov­ing to Santa Fe, was work­ing out in the gym. She stuck her head in to see what was go­ing on in the stu­dio. Once the teacher had suc­cess­fully re­cruited this new stu­dent, Adams, who has a knack for con­vinc­ing “re­tired” dancers to get back on the stage, be­gan imag­in­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tion. Adams, trained in bal­let, jazz, mod­ern, and African and Latin dance, had been chore­ograph­ing and pro­duc­ing con­certs since mov­ing to Santa Fe in the ’90s. “I’d pro­duced many large-group dance con­certs over the years, and I was tired of be­ing the one to co­or­di­nate ev­ery­thing,” she said. “My idea with Kate was to do some­thing much sim­pler. Just two women. Danc­ing.”

Phys­i­cally, the women present con­trast­ing types. Adams is small with long dark hair and moves with an easy quick­ness ap­pro­pri­ate to her stature. Eberle is a black belt in tae kwon do and keeps her blond hair cropped short. She is taller than Adams, carves strik­ingly long lines in space, and has a clear, con­sid­ered use of her strength.

Eberle refers to the idea of leav­ing the stage in terms of al­most Olympian self-def­i­ni­tion: “At 47, I’m work­ing harder than ever, en­joy­ing the ex­treme phys­i­cal­ity of dance. But there is a vein of per­fec­tion­ism that runs through me. I have to be able to meet my own level of ex­pec­ta­tion.”

“Young dancers can’t ac­cess what we’ve been able to do be­cause of our age and ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Adams, who copped to be­ing in her early 40s.

“Meet­ing Julie turned my life on end,” said Eberle. She de­scribed the col­lab­o­ra­tion as “stag­ger­ing.”

There are duets, and then there is col­lab­o­ra­tion. In cre­at­ing Yatra, the first piece the two chore­ographed to­gether, they de­vel­oped a process they con­tinue to use to­day, with each dancer bring­ing in ma­te­rial, and then, as a part­ner­ship, find­ing a way to com­bine ideas, meld styles, and es­tab­lish a com­mon ground. What has been unique about their part­ner­ship is demon­strated in the way that they have re­fused to re­main static in their meth­ods. They are re­vis­ing Yatra to present it again, five years later, with dif­fer­ent mu­sic and the same steps in­formed by who they are to­day, as women and as dancers. The orig­i­nal mu­sic, by Santa Fe com­poser John Kennedy, was “like a Bach suite — sweet, play­ful, friendly,” said Adams. This year, the piece fea­tures mu­sic by cel­list Joan Jean­re­naud with a “dif­fer­ent en­er­getic.”

“We had a fair amount of suc­cess right at the beginning,” said Adams, “which caused us to re­flect, be­fore the sec­ond year, ‘What now?’ Clearly, the an­swers have con­tin­ued to come for the chore­og­ra­phers. “It’s been a mag­i­cal col­lab­o­ra­tion,” Adams con­tin­ued. “Our con­nec­tion has deep­ened. We un­der­stand how to work to­gether and ac­cess dif­fer­ent lev­els.”

Part of the method of cre­ation for both artists has al­ways been show­ing the work in process and con­sid­er­ing the feed­back of peers. “We spend a lot of time mak­ing work,” Adams said. “It takes us six months to make a con­cert.” This in­volves a min­i­mum of four hours of re­hearsal per week at the beginning, lead­ing to many, many more when the con­cert date ap­proaches.

There have been many guest chore­og­ra­phers over the years. For the piece The Min­utes, 16 minute-long mu­si­cal ex­cerpts were farmed out to 16 chore­og­ra­phers, and the re­sult­ing ma­te­rial was stitched to­gether into a fi­nal dance. “Very eclec­tic,” said Eberle. Men­tor­ship is im­por­tant to the artists. This year, Kiki Jadus, who had been danc­ing with Eberle and Adams over the years but is new to pro­fes­sional dance mak­ing, is guest chore­og­ra­pher.

Eberle and Adams have pro­duced two new works this sea­son: Turn, which re­flects the Kate Eberle and Julie Brette Adams; photo by Bill Heckel grow­ing com­plex­ity of the two women’s artis­tic and per­sonal jour­neys, and Eu­clid’s Whim, which fea­tures the two on a large stain­less-steel sculp­ture. Watch­ing the women ma­nip­u­late this frame, on which they sit, slide, climb, and hang, of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to en­cap­su­late their part­ner­ship. To­gether they cre­ate dif­fer­ent lines; phys­i­cally, they of­fer dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to move­ment; in uni­son, they rep­re­sent the power of two hearts and souls com­ing to­gether to cre­ate some­thing new.

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