This Dance, This Gal, This Wonderful Gal: Kate Alton

Like a great number of people I've been able to interview in the last year, Kate Alton has been a hero, an inspiration, a beautiful puzzle of an artist. She's about to open her first show in a few years in which she is dancing. If you haven't witnessed Kate performing, go now. If you have...well you know what I'm talking about then.

Kate managed to answer a few questions I sent her way in the flurry of both our worlds -- tours ending, homecoming, children, rehearsals, and the million other occupations that demand our time. I am so grateful Kate's usual candidness and eloquence.

Without further ado....Kate, unedited. This interview.

LUCY: What motivated you to make this production happen?

KATE: Honestly it was the unending desire that dancers constantly have, somehow to keep on dancing. My life with two kids is very full. I feel lucky to have had so much time to dance before they came into my world. But I also long to keep that dancing part of myself alive, and for my kids to have a sense of that part of me too. 

There have been several points along the way to making this show when I was tempted to throw in the towel, because I do feel compromised in so many ways- time, money, energy, and ability are all compromised here. I have constantly struggled with the question of whether what I can produce right now is worthy of an audience. But I have tried to make these questions central to the premise and the content of the show. 

Lastly I would say that a lot of the motivation to push forward with it has come form others around me- those who saw my initial showings and the people at hub14 who offered to co-produce, which was such a huge and enormously helpful boost both practically and for my spirit.

LUCY: You have always been a performer unafraid of vulnerability on stage  -- at least in my eyes you are! It feels like this production is even more so….How do you keep this vulnerability and honesty so personal and keep yourself or sense of self safe?

KATE: Hmmm, great question! You are such an insightful person Lucy. I don't know! Yes, I feel more vulnerable than ever. I cannot really rely on my dance technique anymore. I am not strong and versatile. My tools are age, experience, and I hope, artistry. 

At the same time, I never felt a need to protect myself in the experience of dancing or performing. I was pretty much born with my heart on my sleeve and have never been able to shove it back inside my chest. In fact I guess the idea of protecting myself from an audience has never even occurred to me, as I guess it might or must for very famous people.

LUCY: Do you have a pre- or post- performance routine? 
KATE: I have not performed much for a long time now. In the past yes, I tried to maintain a fairly consistent warm-up routine. I found that this was easy whenever I danced in a company situation as a dancer-for-hire, and much more difficult once I was self producing because of all the hats we must wear when we do such multi-tasking work. 

Right now I don't really know how to warm up anymore. Everything that used to be part of my routine is inappropriate to my current condition. Barre work it problematic because I can neither stand in comfort with both legs parallel nor both externally rotated. Floor work doesn't work because my hip won't fold as it used to. And if I force any of these things the hip flares and I lose more mobility. This means that I can't really do class anymore, and I miss that so much. 

I have yet to really sort it out! I do pilates and use the eliptical machine because running is no longer workable. I am also very lucky to have a reformer at home and I use it a lot.

LUCY:  What does it mean to dance with or through your injury?

KATE: I am still trying to figure out how to dance with it. I think that in this piece I am really dancing THROUGH it whereas I hope over time to figure out how to really dance WITH it. To use the body I have now instead of trying to adjust so I can dance as I did with the body I used to live in. It feels like a process of shedding. 

LUCY: What keeps you inspired to create and perform? Do different things apply to the different roles? 
KATE: I have come back to this question several times, trying to answer it. I don't seem to have an answer! It is just in me to do it I guess. I love performance generally. I think I love it as a form with which to communicate. I think the heightened activity of performance, whether as creator, performer or audience member is something I live for, something I love to share with other people, in all the different roles.

​November 6th - 15th at hub14
Fri- Sun Nov. 6th-8th and Wed-Sun Nov11th- 15th at 7:30pm

Tickets: $15, Pay-What-You-Can on Sunday Nov 8th 
more info:

all rehearsal photos of Kate Alton in rehearsal for This Dance by Aria Evans.


Anonymous said…
wonderful interview, you two!

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