Huddled together in the first few rows of the Lobero theatre, they have come to witness the residency’s first unveiling; exploratory phrases that Kate Weare and Esteban Moreno have developed over the course of their first week together.

The introductory notes of a restless accordion cry out, and tango dancers Daniel Escobar and Nayhara Zeutrager take the stage, gliding back and forth in a penetrating pas de deux before melting seamlessly into the background. When contemporary dancers Nicole Diaz and Thryn Saxon step up, the scene takes a palpable shift, pulling the audience’s eyes low in a grounded exchange of weight and somatic intention. “The physical and the psychological logic of these two forms has been at the forefront of our exploration this week,” explains Weare, to a chorus of approving nods. “We’re balancing issues of gender and power here.”

As the group retires to the courtyard for cocktails and an intimate Q & A session, their enraptured mood is unmistakable. Laughter and mischief swirl thru the crowd as the dancers offer up candid tidbits of what it feels like to live and work under a canopy of diverse cultures and languages. Someone in the back marvels over their obvious camaraderie in such a short amount of time and Escobar is quick to point out that deep respect and an unambiguous hunger to learn from one another is carrying them thru the soreness and long hours. Dissimilarity, it seems, has managed to bring them closer together, creating an amalgam of ideologies and perspectives that are challenged with each new piece of choreography. Weare, with sharp translation and an apologetic desire to slice far beyond the assumed, is carving out space for the dancers to bare their teeth with vulnerable aggression, laying claim to a new movement language that shows no signs of where tango begins and contemporary dance ends.

“Collaboration is fraught with danger,” muses Dianne Vapnek over the crowd of expectant faces.

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