Yes, we all hold doctors in great esteem, and rightly so, but my admiration oddly goes up for someone who studies neuroscience in Connecticut before dropping the medical studies and travelling to London to do a Masters in Choreography via 6 months in Copenhagen, and followed by 6 years in Asia. Now based in New York, the person I have placed on the ‘Going For It Big Time’ pedestal is Kate March, founder of the all-female creative collective, I AM, writes Michael Holland…
From the moment Kate first graduated she has always created and produced her own work. She says she ‘saw a niche for [her] specific aesthetic’ so combined performance art within the dance. As the work grew she tells me ‘it made sense to establish a movement and platform dedicated to elevating the female artist perspective’. Hence the founding of I AM.
Kate March is more than a dancer. ‘I use my body as my medium of expression but I don’t think “dance” totally covers what I invest myself in as an artist. I guess more accurately I consider myself a performance artist because my art comes alive through the exchange of energy with a live audience. I also would say I am an entrepreneur because I have strived to create a sustainable company that helps me and others achieve specific creative goals.’
I for one won’t be pigeon-holing her. Especially as her current show – An Evening Of Meat – ‘has been influenced by a variety of contexts, cultures, sociopolitical currents, and audiences’. It is a show, first devised in London, that has toured the globe and come back full circle. The press release says it is ‘a powerful conceptual dining experience that explores the all-fours position. As guests eat a six course dinner, they are confronted with performers struggling to reach the vertical position. The dancers explore various aspects of the on-all-fours position, such as vulnerability, strength, stability, sensuality, power, domestication, and unbridled wildness. In this exploration in femininity, the audience and performer build a unique relationship, and as the diner becomes part of the dancer’s struggle, screaming for her to stand up, she in turn destabilises their gaze and becomes more than just a piece of meat on the table.’
I asked Kate where the idea came from: ‘My work tends to be unconventional and initially I felt in order to develop a wider audience, I needed to offer them an anchoring format which felt familiar – in this way, the audience would feel more open to experimentation with the art and entertainment side of the experience. I was extremely surprised to see how amazing the response was…The dining aspect brings something special and complimentary to our work.’
The evolution of An Evening Of Meat over 8 years means it has changed a lot. Says Kate, ‘This new London version will be by far the most intricate and powerful manifestation of the piece that we have ever done.’
An Evening Of Meat is on The Vaults from 27th March – 22nd April. Times: Tues – Sun 6.30pm. Admission: £30 – £60. Phone: 0207 401 9603. www.thevaults.london