What occurs when two very talented dance artists and longtime friends decide to create an evening-length concert? That question was answered this past weekend when Kate Hutter Mason and Kevin Williamson presented No Expectations at Stomping Ground L.A. These two artists did it all; the Direction, Choreography, Performance, Videos, Lights, Costumes, and Sets! The first descriptive words that came to mind following the performance were intelligent, moving, humorous, and magical.

No Expectations had everything neatly created inside. Humor, passion, introspection, spoken word, video, and phenomenal performances. There was even the consumption of a taco and the sipping of a soda. As the audience entered the space, Mason and Williamson sat chatting at a dressing table placed next to a costume rack. Each wore black wigs and Mason sometimes stood, put on a costume from the rack, and rejoined her friend.

Kevin Williamson and Kate Hutter Mason in their "No Expectations" - Photo by Taso Papadakis

Kevin Williamson and Kate Hutter Mason in their “No Expectations” – Photo by Taso Papadakis

Following a brief film titled Furrowed showing closeups of Mason and Williamson making faces that wrinkled their foreheads, the two set out to make one laugh, cry and watch in awe while they camped in drag, imitated rock stars, shadow played, projected a film collage of a very young Mason performing, a discussion about mediocrity while moving on two chairs, and performed truly superb and enthralling solos and duets – but serious and humorous. The solos highlighted each dancer’s movement style and the duets informed how two totally different body types can make dance magic.

Dancer, choreographer, director, and entrepreneur, Kate Hutter Mason was the co-founder of Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company and held the Artistic Directorship from 2005-2015. She graduated from USC with a BFA in Theatrical Design and received an MFA in Choreography and Pedagogy from Purchase College, SUNY. Her choreography has been seen at numerous venues throughout California and at colleges and universities nationwide.

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Kevin Williamson and Kate Hutter Mason in their "No Expectations" - Photo by Taso Papadakis

Dancer, choreographer, and educator Kevin Williamson, states in his bio that his “choreographic research is centered on queer belonging. He is a recipient of a Lester Horton Award and a Johnson Faculty Award for research, teaching and service. His work has been seen in Los Angeles, Minnesota, Washington, Beijing and more. Williamson has worked with numerous choreographers including David Rousseve, Maria Gillespie, Kate Hutter, Robert Moses, David Gordon and others. He is currently an Associate Professor of Dance at Scripps College where he also serves as Chair.

Watching No Expectations was a snapshot view of Mason and Williamson’s past, present and future aspirations. We got a brief glimpse into their hopes and fears, watched them make fun of themselves, and learned what drives each of them and much more. All of it added up to why they have so much knowledge and experience to contribute to the art of dance. There were various decorative items and a banner hanging behind the ticket table outside Stomping Ground L.A. that implied this was to be a retirement celebration. I can only say that I hope, as one of the ticket crew said “I think it’s a joke.” The thought of these two dance makers and artists retiring from the stage leaves me feeling sad. If true, then we are fortunate that Mason and Williamson gifted us with No Expectations to remember always.

Kevin Williamson and Kate Hutter Mason in their "No Expectations" - Photo by Taso Papadakis

Kevin Williamson and Kate Hutter Mason in their “No Expectations” – Photo by Taso Papadakis

The music for No Expectations was a mix of composers that included Johann Sebastian Bach, Black Eyed Peas, alva noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Mika Vainio, Ryoji Ikeda, and Sufjan Stevens & yMusic. The Trailer Cinematography was by Chelsea Roquero.

For more information about Stomping Ground L.A., please visit their website.

Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image: Kevin Williamson and Kate Hutter Mason in their No Expectations – Photo by Taso Papadakis