The Transcendent Art Of Whim W'Him

By Chris Heide & Alka Sareen

Photo credit is Stefano Altamura

Photo credit is Stefano Altamura

Transcendent art is a collective narrative that informs, illuminates and elevates critical thinking. True art is meant to illuminate the fractures within the human condition, evoking an emotional response that is intended to induce connection.

Well into its 9th season, Whim W’Him continues to demonstrate why it is one of the most innovative provocative contemporary dance companies around with 3 x 3.

As always, every single production created by Whim W’Him is broken into three acts. Each act is created by a different choreography, with pieces that connect to the overarching theme of the show.

According to Olivier Wevers, the whole point of any Whim W’Him production is to push boundaries of art and dance. He states, “experiencing art requires vulnerability and a willingness to be challenge. It is not mere passive entertainment but can trigger profound emotions. What we do is who we are. With genuine honesty we dream, collaborate, explore, look for meanings and intent, relentlessly redefining and refining what it means to be human. Nomads in crowded isolation, we still aspire to join together in sharing a moment of enlightenment, healing, or simple solace.”

The first act of the evening, The Most Elusive Hold by Yin Yue, explores the universal concepts of interaction and connection. As the piece begins, the choreography appears to be purposefully out of sync. The dancers perform together, in an almost jarring and disconnected manner. As the piece progresses, the dancers become more and more in sync, the choreography becomes more tightly bound. The Most Elusive Hold almost metaphorically hopeful as the”community” began in discord and slowly began merging into a harmonious collective. Each dancer maintained their own unique style, but it became a mosaic of methods by the end.

The second piece of the evening is an interesting examination of time and the bounds of time within daily life. This mountain by Zoe Scofield is an exploration of a journey for self-discovery that is bound by the mundane elements of daily life. The choreography is oddly refreshing. Zoe Scofield draws heavily on technical elements from other mediums of dance. A great deal of the piece is imbued with a cohesive element of staccato movement, which is very inline with the theme of time. The dancers are often found stomping heavily on stage- a narrative element that connects the more lyrical elements of the entire piece. While the staccato and sharp elements help the piece to stand out, it is the quieter moments that helps This mountain achieve true narrative resonance.

Photo credit Stefano Altamura

Photo credit Stefano Altamura

As always, the most outstanding piece of the evening is created him Wevers himself. Entitled Trail of Soles, Wevers examines an emotionally harrowing journey of how humans must escape famine, war, persecution, and climate change: the narrative thread of an emotionally draining triumph of adversity and tragedy. This piece was appropriately haunting. The props, the costumes, the portrayed pain in the dance all represented the wrenching decisions and trauma that can occur within war. The elements created a hauntingly beautiful narrative that was further solidified by the intricate movements of he dancers. A particularly emotionally evocative element of Trail of Soles is Wevers’ use of weather worn shoes as a prop. The shoes are reminiscent of something you might find in the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. This piece of Wevers at his best. As always, Wevers has mastered innovative and thematically beautiful partnering. as well as dynamic group choreography.

Stand out performances from Whim W’Him’s 3 x 3 includes intricate partnering from Karl Watson and Jim Kent, as well as solo elements performed by Adrian Hoffman. Hoffman, who is a relative newcomer to Whim W’Him, has exceptional control of his lines and extensions.

Given that Whim W’Him continues to shock and impress with every showcase, it should come a no surprise to anyone that the trajectory of this contemporary dance company is limitless.