Kate Speer

  • Video still from 2014 performance

Kate Speer, Dance, Denver, CO
In Residence: March 20th – May 20th, 2017
Performances: “Borderlandia”

Thursday, May 11th, doors open 6pm, performance at 6:30
Friday, May 19th, doors open 7pm, performance at 7:30
Saturday, May 20th, doors open 7pm, performance at 7:30

Generously supported by OZ Architecture, Bonfils Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, the NEA, Ground Floor Media and Riverfront Park.

“Borderlandia” was conceived of, directed and choreographed by Kate Speer during her two-month residency at PlatteForum in which Speer has worked with students from the Colorado I Have a Dream Ruby Hill Strive Prep Program. Speer and her students have worked together to investigate Denver’s neighborhood segregation and gentrification. This intimate, immersive performance experience claims, controls and imagines space and the idea of fashioning a map to find home.

“As I bike around Denver, I am continually struck by the racial and ethnic segregations between neighborhoods and the rapid gentrification taking over the city,” says Speer. “Being a white female of the hipster generation, I am also aware of my movement and how easily and comfortably I can pass through the newly gentrified neighborhoods, such as RiNo. This led me to think about my complicity as an artist in this rapidly changing landscape and how I personally, and anyone who calls Denver home, can establish a sense of place.”

With these thoughts in mind, Speer has crafted a spatial design that the cast and audience will navigate that intends to make visible the borders we create, the property we claim and the imagination we inhabit, which frequently impacts and limits the movement (and freedom) of other people.

Speer has incorporated text, movement gestures and task-based choreography with the Colorado I Have a Dream youth during her Learning Lab sessions each week. This collaborative creative process draws out their personal stories around place and the experiences they have had within their own local sphere.

Additionally, Speer is incorporating three dance techniques into this performance — her own modern dance training that includes Piso Móvil and Continuum technique studied under Omar Carrum, and House and Mexican Folklórico led by the cast of professional dancers who are also part of this project. House and Mexican Folklórico techniques share an exciting dynamic in their expressive, rhythmical footwork. Akin to learning to communicate in another language, these forms allow for a physical conversation between the dancers included in the “Borderlandia” cast.

“Borderlandia” will be performed at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis St., Thursday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. All performances will be free of charge and no RSVP is required. For more information, visit www.platteforum.org.


About the Artist

Kate Speer is a dancer, choreographer, and writer based in Denver, CO. She has had the pleasure to perform in work by Nathan Blackwell, Raja Feather Kelly, Gesel Mason, Tania Isaac, Patrick Mueller, and Willi Dorner. As a choreographer, she lives at the intersection of social activism and artistic production by merging theatrical storytelling with athletic, momentum-based movement in order to engage the audience’s visceral and emotional capacities. Speer’s eight-year research project and study with David Dorfman Dance has greatly informed her artistic practice of cultivating active citizenship.

Speer has previously worked with RedLine as a Community Artist through their EPIC program, which facilitates a collaborative socially engaged art project with youth. In addition to her PlatteForum residency, she has worked as an artist in residence at Mascher Space Co-op (PA), Middlebury College (VT), Swarthmore College (PA), all of which emphasize community engagement that is inherent in her dancemaking. Speer holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder and a BA in Dance and Biology from Swarthmore College. For more information, visit www.katespeerdance.org.