Kate Speer: dancer, choreographer, writer

"the notion that experimentation would undermine 'tradition' is a misconception. The experiment we pass on today will become the 'tradition' of tomorrow."
Danny Yung

From the launch pad of an eclectic contemporary dance background, the primary goal of my hybrid technique is to elucidate the dancing personality. This goal means electrifying the imagination in order to develop confidence and presence, so that the individual physical voice speaks loudly and proudly.

Through the use of judgment free speech, I create an environment based on experimentation and respect. My dance class becomes a social event in which collectively we are seeing and dancing with each other. Ultimately, this community supports students to take risks and make mistakes as they develop their imagination, confidence, and individual physical voice. Clarifying one’s unique and palatable dancing personality is essential in perfecting performance quality, scoring that audition, and just embodying the joys of being human.

Placing equal emphasis on improvisation and learned movement phrases, my movement aesthetic incorporates core integration through high velocity and multi-directional phrase work, finding ease with moving in and out of the floor, and trusting the flow of momentum. I draw inspiration from a number of modern dance practices ranging from athletic momentum based work of David Dorfman and Kathleen Hermesdorf to release techniques of Lisa Kraus (from the Trisha Brown linage) and Odile Duboc. Additional movement vocabularies that have hybridized in my body are the weight principles of Contact Improvisation, the somatic visualizations from Gaga and Alexander Technique, and various Africanist aesthetics, such as Umfundalai, Malagasy, and West African traditions as well as my own version of po-mo pop locking (po-mo = postmodern).

In addition to teaching dance techniques, I also specialize in merging dance practice with theory. Holding an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder, my secondary area of emphasis is in dance theory and scholarship. I draw from cultural studies and the associated lenses (critical race theory, post-colonialism, feminism, and identity politics) to situate and analyze dance practices.

As a result, I am most excited about teaching cross-discipline courses where students (and particularly individuals who do not consider themselves dancers) are in dialogue with theory and dance texts while experimenting with process-based practicums. From my studies and dance experiences, I believe that such an integration of several humanities-based subjects (Dance, Sociology, Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, Political Science, etc.) with the embodied experience is at the heart of liberal arts programs in which students discover how radical the dancing body is in society.