Kathy Dunn Hamrick and Kate Warren bring their dance companies together, but they've been in step for decades
Some things, it seems, are meant to be. In 1981, Kathy Dunn Hamrick needed to replace a dancer for her first professional dance concert, and the person who came to her rescue, at the suggestion of a friend, was named Kate. Kathy left Austin, but after she came back eight years later, she and Kate – Kate Warren, by the way – wound up teaching together at the Sharir Dance Company School. When Kate decided to start her own dance school in 1991, she invited Kathy along. When Kathy started her own dance company in 1998, she recruited Kate to dance. Kate stepped back from dancing several years ago and has recently launched her own company, Circuitous Dance/Kate Warren, and this weekend, 32 years after their paths first crossed, Kathy and Kate, two peas in a modern dance pod, are having their two companies perform together.
The enduring friendship/artistic partnership shared by Kathy Dunn Hamrick and Kate Warren makes Double Step – as the program running at AustinVentures StudioTheater Thursday through Saturday is titled – a compelling enterprise. That much history, fueled by a shared passion for modern dance and a complementary sense of how to make it, generates an uncommon creative fire – fire feeding fire.
The spark that started the blaze, according to Hamrick, was the fact that, "back in '81, when I really needed someone to help me out, Kate came through. She did what she said she would do, and I'm attracted to that quality in people. In fact, she exceeded my expectations as a dancer in my work – something that isn't all that easy to do. Kate continues to give generously of her experience to anyone who asks, and she commits fully to any project with which she's involved. But there are two really important things that make her an invaluable artistic partner: 1) she has a great sense of humor and makes me laugh, 2) she tells it like it is."
The degree to which the two complement each other may be seen in the individual dances each has worked up for the Double Step show: Hamrick's The Big Small explores the tiny moments and gestures that may have significant consequences as time goes by, while Warren's Flipped Earth starts from a large, cataclysmic event – the sudden opening of a crevice in the earth. One investigates the micro view while the other peers at the macro. And yet, both works involve the random event, the role of chance. Even when they're working on different scales, the two are ever on the same page.
That, says Warren, is what keeps Kathy and Kate a fire that won't be going out anytime soon. "Both of us are fascinated with modern dance – how to teach it, how to structure it into choreography, how to perform it. I believe Kate and I share the same goals: to be better at what we do so that maybe we can make better dancers and choreographers. That's what we talk about. All the time."
Double Step will be performed June 6-8, Thursday-Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 3 & 8pm, at AustinVentures StudioTheater, 501 W. Third. For more information, call 512/934-1082 or visit www.kdhdance.com.