Approaching Ecstasy

By Chris Heide

After almost a decade, Whim W’Him has produced its first full length show. Typically, a traditional Whim W’Him showcase feature three separate pieces, all created by three different choreographers. For the first time, the entire evening was dedicated to one continuous ballet.

Approaching Ecstasy is not a traditional ballet. It is an extremely complex creation that touches on themes of loss, fate, sexuality, homosexuality and lust in a cacophonous, artistic extravaganza. The powerfully dark creation is a tasteful collaboration between the Whim W’Him company, the Esoterics, the Skyros Quartet, and harpist Melissa Achten Klausner.

Whim’ Whim is at its best when it combines original music and powerful choreography. For some reason, Olivier Wevers’ vision seems to be more cohesive when those two elements are present.

Approaching Ecstasy is dark, sad, powerful, sexualized and evocative. It is not a show designed for children. It is a beautifully tragic tale of the universal motif that humans long and search for connection. This singular experience is built around a set of poems by Constantine Cavafy, a closeted homosexual living in Alexandria at the turn of the 20th century. The whole experience world that Wevers creates ingeniously intertwines the lice coral performances, with the emotional heavy movement of the dancers. At times, the dancers are literally dances around and through the singer, who are strategically placed throughout the stage.

One of the highlight of the show comes from veteran performer, Patrick Kilbane, and Karl Watson. A large frame hangs from the ceiling and the two men dances on either side of the mirrors, mimicking each other’s movements. It is honestly one of the best excused pieces of choreography that Whim W’Him has ever produced.

This beautifully twisted ballet proves that Whim’ W’Him continues to challenge and evolve. Wevers has never shied away from politically relevant themes and aggressive choreography. Approaching Ecstasy is a wonderful example of those things coming together in a unique and spectacular manner.