Whim W’him‘s Instantly Bound program, January 17-19, 2014 at Cornish Playhouse (formerly Intiman Theatre/Seattle Center Playhouse) kicks off its fifth season.
As well as showcasing three Seattle premieres (two of them created for this show),
it’s the occasion for several kinds of celebration!
§ No longer a project based company, for the first time Whim W’Him is now offering continuing work to 8 dedicated dancers for the season.
§ This is the primary engagement for these dancers, who are contracted for Whim W’Him’s performance year.
§ New York and Seattle auditions identified 3 new dancers, who came in from Alaska, New York and Dresden, Germany, and who are now living in or near Seattle to dance with the company.
§ Regular rehearsals, 10-3, 5 to 6 days a week, provide stability, consistency, and space for choreographers and dancers to explore and expand ideas together.
§ The May program will also be composed entirely of new works, by Olivier Wevers, Whim W’Him’s artistic director, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Andrew Bartee.
Juanjo Arques, the Spanish choreographer who is currently in Seattle creating his first piece in the US, says of Whim W’Him, “I love working with these dancers because they are artists. They give everything they have. I could start to invent from zero with them. You can’t do that with a big company.” Watching them rehearse, you know it’s true. Each individual imbues the work with a specific intelligence, sensitivity and strength.
All have incredible stamina, plus a fine sense of humor and a lively esprit de corps.
These qualities shine forth in the present program, as Wednesday’s run-through of Juanjo’s Crossroad, followed by Olivier’s Les Sylphides, demonstrated. The dancers turned on a dime, changing both physically and emotionally—from the dramatic emotional landscape of Juanjo’s dark, intimate meditation on meeting & parting to Olivier’s equally intense, but highly comical take on a dysfunctional dinner party.
The two pieces make very different demands on technique and acting abilities.
Pointe shoes or ballet slippers in the former and socks in the latter, impart distinct qualities to the movement. Likewise, each danced conversation in Crossroads is permeated with a particularity of movement developed organically from the dancers’ own movements, and character are portrayed purely through movement. By contrast in the the fast and edgy Les Sylphides, stock personalities are made thoroughly individual via pantomime as well as dance. Meanwhile, it is amusing, and impressive, to see what disparate characters these dancers are called upon to represent.
Even the two alienated couples, danced in both works by Tory and Kyle, couldn’t be more distinct. In Juanjo’s piece they are by turns tender, angry and confused. It’s a long-term relationship between two basically sympathetic people gone fatally awry.
In Olivier’s manic romp, however, the husband is a total curmudgeon, while the high-spirited wife is, shall we say, no better than she should be.
In honor of these dancers, their exceptional talents and the outstanding ensemble they are creating, let’s take a look at each of them—in motion and at rest, singly…
…and all together.