By Chris Heide
“Dance is a form of human expression that we can all share and understand”
Ever since its inception, Whim W’Him has become one of the premiere dance companies in Seattle. In the past seven seasons, the masterful contemporary troupe has featured 40 original creations from 24 international choreographers. Every Whim W’Him show is unique, emotionally evocative and brilliantly executed, promoting a culture of risk and vulnerability. Over the past two weekends, Whim W’Him opened its seventh season with its second annual Choreographic Shindig.
According to the Artistic Director, Olivier Weavers, this showcase is a unique creation:
“As far as I know, we are the only dance company to have an entire program whose choreographers are selected solely by its dancers. In an effort to engage and inspire our artists, and to expose the depths of their talents and voices, the four choreographers were chosen by the dancers out of a pool of close to 100 applicants. I am proud to be able to provide this artistic structure each year for one of our programs and to offer some mentoring on the many aspects of creating a well-balanced program.”
Like all Whim W’Him shows, the program is sectioned off into thirds. The evening opens with Saro, a creation by Joseph Hernandez. The piece beings with a therapy session, something of a prologue before the actual dancing begins. While this helps set a thematic tone, the number doesn’t really pick up momentum until the dancing begins. Featured in this number is a fiercely beautiful duet between Patrick Kilbane and Justin Reiter. Kilbane is featured prominently throughout the evening. His graceful strength and impeccable lines make him a true stand out in this company.
The second piece of the shindig is entitled Swan Song, by Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz, which displays veiled references to Swan Lake. The choreography is a wonderful mixture of both hard and soft- intense, grounded movements mixed with classical ballet technique. The piece, which features the exquisite partnering of Kilbane and Jim Kent, is both effectively seductive and sad.
The show closes out with a whimsical, nostalgic number. Undeniably, From Under the Cork Tree is one of the best pieces that Whim W’Him has ever produced. It features a plethora of tight, synchronized choreography and maintains a strong, poetic theme throughout. The audience would surely agree with me, as this number received a rousing standing ovation on closing night.
Seven years into its tenure and Whim W’Him just keeps getting better. While most contemporary dance companies tend to hit a slump, Whim W’Him continues to shatter expectations while broaching new, uncharted territories of dance.