Whim W'him: Inspired

By Christopher Heide

Seattle’s premiere contemporary ballet company has done it again. Since its inception 6 years ago, Whim W’Him has grown into a pinnacle of artistic achievement within its short lifespan. Artistic Director, Olivier Wevers, has become synonymous with creative ingenuity. Every one of his repertoires has shown a clarity of vision and a commitment to creative, unique movement. Whim W’Him’s latest showcase, INSPIRED, is quite possibly its most cohesive presentation yet.

According to Wevers, art and dance are paramount in our lives. He states that “at Whim W’Him we are proud poets in a world with so much harsh speech. We aim to pry peoples’ minds from the mundane, to bring texture and vibrancy to life, and in so doing, make the world a better place. Our goal is to bring people together, to share and reflect, and ultimately to inspire.” Indeed, INSPIRED is a rep with tremendous vibrancy, texture and depth.

Like all Whim W’Him presentations, INSPIRED is broken into three acts, with each act being presented by a different choreographer. Wevers is notorious for providing a platform to many different types of artistic minds. Also similar to previous presentations, Wevers himself choreographed one of the three acts.

Brahms and Tights is a bright, colorful work; possibly one of Wevers’ best ever. It’s a cohesive number, set to Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major. The choreography in this number was simply extraordinary. Wevers’ has mastered the ability to highlight his dancer’s natural talents with his nuanced choreography. Wevers’ partnering work is always a highlight of his choreography, although I would have liked to see more ensemble work in this rendition.

Overflow choreographed by Mark Haim was the weakest piece presented during the evening. Thematically, it is a heavy, dramatic piece honoring his immigrant parents. It seemed to be a piece that was more cohesive in conception than execution. The choreography seemed less inspired than the other two bodies of work.

The Ghost Behind Me presented a first for Whim W’Him; live music. Dominic Walsch’s choreography was juxtaposed with a haunting, violin heavy original composition by Two Star Symphony. There are not enough words to describe how truly brilliantly this number was executed. The music fit perfectly with the emotionally evocative choreography. The music was reminiscent of the thunderous score presented in television programs like Alias and Lost. The Ghost Behind Me tells the story of a puppeteer (Patrick Kilbane) who manipulates the rest of the dancers through emotional movement. 

While all of the Whim W’Him dancers are outstanding artists, Kilbane stood out from the rest of the pack. The man clearly knows what he is doing. Even when given grounded, heavy choreography, Kilbane’s expert technique shines through.

If INSPIRED is the dawn of a new, bold era for Whim W’Him, I am excited to see where the company goes next.