Since relocating from Columbus, Ohio to Seattle in 2014, Rachael Forstrom’s Ktisk Contemporary Dance has barely skipped a beat. The company dove right into the Seattle performance scene; they’ve appeared in multiple festivals and repertory shows, and produced their own playful production, Rhyme Nor Reason, at Velocity Dance Center last spring. The troupe’s latest venture, a fun but pointed take on the beauty industry entitled Beauty Marks, hits the stage at the Pocket Theater this weekend as part of the Fringe Explosion Festival. Beauty Marks runs November 20-21, and will serve as a fundraiser for Ktisk’s spring production. SeattleDances caught up with Ktisk’s Associate Director, Philippa Myler, to hear more about their latest show.
SeattleDances: Where did the impetus for Beauty Marks come from?
Philippa Myler: Beauty Marks began as a collaboration between Ktisk and Sarah McKinley, a comedic actor with Part Plant, for Seattle International Dance Festival’s Sanity Café. The series’ theme, “Luminous Twisted Topsoil,” reminded Ktisk’s Artistic Director Rachael Forstrom of the advertisements you see on beauty products and cosmetics, so we brainstormed and generated some experimental dance-meets-comedy material on the culture of beautification. Rachael thought that “it’s amazing how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into making women look ‘natural.’” With Beauty Marks we’re taking a quirky and satirical look at the “Beauty Industrial Complex,” from removing body hair to fad dieting, to dating and even gender expectations.
SeattleDances: Tell us about the choreographers and the various works that will be presented in this concert.
Myler: Rachael Forstrom is reprising and revising her original work from SIDF, setting it on a larger cast and an only slightly larger stage at The Pocket. As the Associate Director, I have choreographed a work inspired by adventures in online dating, entitled Swipe Right, and Ingrid Keek Porter is debuting a work delving into beauty and self esteem on a personal level. Also, watch out for a special drag performance cameo and appearances by a guest vocalist and a voice actor.
SeattleDances: What makes this show different from previous Ktisk productions?
Myler: The intimate cabaret format is a departure from Ktisk’s previous formal concert dance productions. The tiny stage presents unique limitations, and we love the different and unusual decisions we’ve made to work around them. We’re being silly and fun, but in some places making a biting commentary on the commercial beauty industry. Props will be flying—look out for shaving cream and bananas! With this show, Ktisk is taking experimental risks and baring it all to create a raucous evening that will entertain, but leave audiences thinking.
SeattleDances: Is this the first time you’ve presented work at The Pocket? How did you choose this venue for this particular show?
Myler: The Pocket Theater selected our proposal to be produced as part of their first annual Fringe Explosion Festival, happening all month. They’ve generously offered us a slot in their busy lineup and a portion of ticket sales. It’s a small house, seating only 50 people, so we’re trying to pack the audience and use this event as a fundraiser for a larger show at Velocity in March.
SeattleDances: Finish the sentence: “You should see Beauty Marks if….”
Myler: You should see Beauty Marks if you want to see some rowdy, good-humored pokes at what it takes to make pretty. Join us as we mix the dirt of self-improvement with the grease paint of commercial perception in this frisky, entertaining, and hard-hitting evening.
Tickets for Beauty Marks can be purchased here. More information about Ktisk Contemporary Dance can be found on their website.