By Christopher Heide
Whim W'Him has once again created a brilliant new repertoire, highlighting their continued push towards becoming an iconic contemporary company. Threefold explores the complexities of various relationships, as presented in three distinct pieces from Olivier Wevers and two guest choreographers. Each artist has created a piece that provides a unique view of difficult relationships. The styles and rhythm of each number greatly varies, but each fits brilliantly into the thematic vision Wevers has opted to create.
Never one to shy away from topical themes, Wevers' "We Are Not the Same" is an eerie, almost maudlin depiction of the natural friction that occurs within romantic relationships. Wevers chooses to focus on two couples, one straight and one gay. At times, the choreography of each paired couple mimics the other, whereas at other times, each pair has a unique nuance to their movements, That is the genius of Wevers; every single movement he choreographs is purposeful and specific. Each tick, lift and hold serves to strengthen his greater story.
For the majority of the piece, the dancers default to heavily grounded movements and intimate partner work, both of which have become signature components of Wevers' artistic style. His true gift is his ability to tell a story. His reps always present an air of uncertainty. In this number, the audience is unsure if the couples will remain together for the majority of the story presented. It is an evocative, emotionally gut wrenching number and easily one of Wevers' most polished works. Dancers Kyle Jonson, Tory Peil, Jim Kent and Justin Reiter were nothing short of spectacular.
The least cohesive piece of the evening Loni Landon's "New Year, New You." Aimed to explore the dubious nature of resolutions we make each year, Landon's work seemed to fall short purported goal. While the dancers performed well, Landon's choreography seemed less purposeful and more forced than Wevers' nuanced style, which distracted from the Landon's theme.
The most sophisticated work of the evening was Penny Saunders' "Soir Bleu". Inspired by Edward Hopper's 1914 painting of the same name, Saunders' creation depicted a vivid portraiture of characters who were each lost in their own private worlds. Featuring seven Whim W'Him dancers, "Soir Bleu" showcases the most technically proficient choreography of the evening; this mini-ballet was both energetic and emotionally mesmerizing. The moments when all seven dancers executed parallel choreography were some of the best of the entire evening. Contemporary dance at its best.