By Chris Heide
It is crazy to believe that Whim W’Him is now entering its 10th season as one of the elite contemporary dance companies in the world. Over the past decade, Whim W’Him has developed brilliant pieces of conceptual art that evokes intellectual and emotional responsiveness. With its 10th season premiere (and the 5th iteration of the Choreographic Shindig), Whim W’Him continues to top itself.
As always, the Choreographic Shindig V features the creations of three choreographers from about the world. One of the unique aspects of Whim W’Him is that the dancers themselves select which chroergpaher they want to be a part of this showcase. Very few, if any, contemporary dance companies allow this much collaboration from the dancers.
Opening the Choreographic Shindig V is a piece by Joshua Manculich, entitled See-Saw. This piece required audience participation. Before the number began, audience members were instructed to write an item from their bucket list on a post-it, and place it onto a chalkboard that was sitting in the middle of the stage. This was a powerful visual representation of all the unrequited dreams that many people share. The number itself depicted the juxtaposition between the immediacy of a child’s world and the greater complexity of an adult’s viewpoint. Featuring strong partnering from all of the seven members of the Whim W’Him troupe, this was a strong opening number for the season premiere.
The second creation of the evening was created by Kyra Jean Green (in collaboration with the dancers) and was called The Smile Club. This piece examines the power of human emotion and our ability to manipulate what we feel. To be honest, this is the most face acting I have ever seen in a dance number. Each dancer displayed a dizzying array of human emotion, which both added to the complexity and almost chaotic nature of the choreography. It was a power statement on the power of a smile, and the fact that a smile is often an illusory mask meant to hidden human pain and emotion. Whim W’Him veterans, Karl Watson and Jim Kent, were easily the mesmerizing focal point of the piece, pulling focus whenever they were on stage.
While the first two numbers were both exceptionally string, the closing number of the evening was the most cohesive and member portion of the show. Laurentide, by Yoshito Sakuraba, is a stunning, dark, and evocative demition of the conflict and calamity between two stages of being. This number was different than the first two, in that is was darker and more emotional. EDM infused music was used in stark contract with the more lyrical movements of the dancers. Laurentide also contained some of the most breathtaking partnering, and glorious group synchronicity ot the entire evening. Ever single dancer was given a moment to shine in the creation and it is easily one of the all-time best pieces of art that Whim W’Him has ever produced.
While it is clear that Karl Waston is the much deserved lead dancer for Whim W’Him, othermeber sof the company have really come into their own this season. The technical poweress of Cameron Britts and Adrian Hoffman is unparalleled, and Mia Monteabaro is brillianty captivating anytime she is on stage.
If you have yet to enjoy the brilliance that is Whim W’Him, you are missing out. Every year Whim W’Him continues to evolve and push the boundaries of contemporary art, as any truly talented company should. At this rate, Whim W’Him, as well as Olivier Wevers (the creator), will be world renowned in no time.