I like to shake my hips and twist my spine. I enjoy the exhilaration that keeps the body tense with anticipation. I savor the final release of completion when the arms fully extend and the feet breathe into the earth. I like huge landscapes that crescendo into mountains and dissolve into streams. I enjoy the delicate gestures of lovers, quiet hands that gently touch. And I relish a good beat that sends the sweaty, exhausted body into motion.
A Maine girl at heart, Kate Speer is a dancer, choreographer, and organizer based in Denver, CO. Balancing life as an artist and arts administrator, she crafts performance work while tending to the wellbeing and heart beat of dance makers and nonprofit organizations. Speer has had residencies at RedLine Contemporary Art Center (CO), PlatteForum (CO), Middlebury College (VT), Swarthmore College (PA), and Mascher Space Cooperative (PA), all of which emphasize community engagement that is inherent in her dancemaking. Often self-producing in DIY spaces, her own choreography has been supported by National Performance Network, Colorado Creative Industries Career Advancement Grant, the Puffin Foundation and the Community Education Center’s New Edge Artist Mix Series (PA), and has been presented at Performatica (Cholula, Mexico), Boulder International Fringe Festival (CO), Philly Fringe (PA), ETC Performance Series (PA), and FAB Dance Showcase (ME). Always seeking collaborative performance projects, Speer has directed two large-scale immersive works in Denver with a team of artists in visual arts, music, and performance: [Colony 933] (2018), an immersive mystery dance-theatre, and No Place to Go (2020), an artist-made haunted house. She has had the pleasure to perform in work by Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Claudia Lavista, Ondine Geary, Raja Feather Kelly, Tania Isaac, and Willi Dorner. Her movement technique is an eclectic mix of athletic, momentum-based movement studied under Gesel Mason, David Dorfman, and Kathleen Hermesdorf, and most recently, Piso Móvil and Continuum techniques studied under Omar Carrum and Claudia Lavista. She counts Sharon Friedler, Gesel Mason, and Michelle Ellsworth among her guides and mentors. She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder and a BA in Dance and Biology from Swarthmore College.
As an artist, I feel a sense of responsibility to dismantle systems of oppression in my work, point out criticisms in our society, and offer alternative realities for us to aspire to. I believe we can all be active citizens of our worlds, continuously cultivating an engaged presence (active) with a sense of responsibility to reciprocity within our community (citizen). My emphasis on active citizenship emerges in my creative practice, the performance art I make, and even, the day-to-day relationships I build. My main artistic mode is dance, because of the potent identity politics that are mapped onto bodily difference. More than just choreography, dance uses the body as a symbol for social identities, a tool to perform these identities, and a medium for their continual creation and recreation. I frequently merge a patchwork-like storytelling with athletic, momentum-based movement in order to engage the audience’s visceral and emotional capacities. While the themes and subject matter change, collaboration is a key tenet of my creative process, both artistically because of the creative sparks when two minds meet and politically because of the necessity for multiple voices. I truly believe in art’s power to generate communities that empower individuals, create belongingness, and ignite social change.