Kate Weare celebrates the tenth anniversary season of her company this year, and the ensemble’s performance at BAM is a thoughtful, well-sequenced retrospective of her work over the past ten years. The first half of the program comprised four duets (three old one new) while the second half was just one (longer) piece; Ms. Weare’s new work Unstruck. Though the first half did include one première, the gentle, tango-esque Volver for company stalwart Douglas Gillespie and recently joined dancer TJ Spaur, the evening felt as if its first half was a reflection of Ms. Weare’s older, more sexually-driven aesthetic and the second half was its ‘look forward’, a step in a new direction. Unstruck felt, at times, unfocused—like an extended movement study that was still finding its through line—but its three dancers, all new-ish to the company, present a drastically different side of Ms. Weare’s work.

<i>Volver</i> © Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang
Volver
© Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang
But first, the old: Leslie Kraus (a founding member of the company and perhaps its most recognizable) and Mr. Gillespie opened and closed the first half in excerpts from, respectively, 2008’s Bridge of Sighs and Bright Land, from 2010. To watch the two of them together is always a treat—they appear so aware of each other’s timing, dynamic and even idiosyncrasies as dancers that they occasionally transcend the admittedly similar material. With the exception of Volver, Ms. Weare’s first-half duets are percussive, passionate, playful pieces, pitting male against a female who often ends with the upper hand. My companion whispered to me that it felt as if each duet picked up where the previous had left off, and I tend to agree. Maybe this is a consequence of showing excerpts, but seeing so many tempestuous couplings, one after the other, did lend the first half some perhaps unintended continuity.

During a talkback with Ms. Weare and some of her dancers, following the show, moderator David White jokingly referred to her work as “Fifty Shades of Weare.” Admittedly, I too, had scribbled a note during the show that read “Fifty Shades of Dance.” But this is a reductive description of Ms. Weare’s work; it is unabashedly sensual, yes, with straddled partnering and Afternoon of a Faun-esque moments of pelvic release, but it’s also powerful and layered. Volver was a nice break from the super-charged electricity, with its easeful, tender partnering and introspective feel.

<i>Unstruck</i> © Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang
Unstruck
© Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang
Unstruck was carefully and powerfully danced by Julian De Leon, Nicole Diaz and Mr. Spaur. Unlike the rest of the program, it was difficult to find or even create a narrative within Ms. Weare’s swirling, textured and even, at times, voyeuristic choreography. Each of the dancers took a turn standing apart from the other two, gazing steadily and walking the space’s perimeter, as if he or she was in control of the separate duet. Most of the piece, however, felt vague and without direction—only at its final third did Ms. Weare’s intensity and complex spatial patterns really take shape.

****1