For 6 thrilling years Liane Aung was a radiant presence at the center of Whim W’Him. In a group or as soloist, in her different incarnations for the many choreographers’ works that she danced, Liane was sometimes playful, sometimes sensuous, sometimes enigmatic, sometimes savage, always compelling to watch.
On Whidbey Island in the last of the Spring 2022 season’s performances, she danced her final show with the company.
For Liane, moving on from Whim W’Him was a very complex and wrenching decision, with forces pulling her in different directions. On one side was the draw of Whim itself, which despite—and sometimes because of—changes of dancer personnel and crises at global, societal, company and individual levels, had become the most tight-knit family ever. A world-wide and long-lasting emergency like the pandemic changed the terms of life for everyone.
The Whim W’Him dancers and their partners lived in bubbles together. They supported each other while dancing on zoom calls (like many other companies had to do), in parking lots, parks and in studios when it was allowed.
They shared happy hours, excursions, meals spontaneous or planned together, confidences and sorrows even when continued propinquity was no longer mandated. In the process, they got to know each other to a rare degree.
On the other side, as Liane told me a while back, “I’m at the point in my life where I have begun to crave new challenges. I need to find a balance between dance and life goals outside of dance.”
In online program notes of farewell to the company, Liane wrote this graceful tribute to Whim W’Him which bears repeating here:
Notes of Gratitude :
Thank you for experiencing life, art and growth with me.
It has been a true pleasure to perform for you and I am forever grateful for your presence and support.
Thank, You for engaging me, challenging me and giving me endless opportunity for growth.
I have loved learning from you and seeing your visions unfold in the studio and on stage.
This group of dancers has been through so much together! And I couldn’t have survived these past two years without you all.
And to all the dancers that have come and gone in the past six years, thank you for keeping me grounded and constantly inspired.
It has truly been an honor to perform and experience life with you.
Six years ago, You welcomed me with open arms into your community. You have engaged, challenged and supported me.
Tonight, I encourage you to gaze with new eyes and see all of the things I know to be true about Whim.
See beauty, fluidity, kindness, thoughtfulness, fire, discipline, drive, heart and sickle pickles!
It’s been an immense honor and I cannot wait to share with you, one last time.
Cheers to You and this amazing company, Whim W’him.”
With her partner Anthony, Liane recently returned to Southern California, where both their families live. Liane will continue to dance, freelancing based on the East Coast where they plan to relocate in the late fall. The decision to move on from Whim W’Him and Seattle was hammered out with a ton of introspection, honest communication and lots of creative thinking. In their new life Tony will work remotely, while Liane will catch up with old friends, rest, regroup, do some freelance dancing, follow up connections and plan next steps.
“Freelancing,”says Liane, “will allow me the ability to balance and create a new structure for myself. Unlocking time and space for new things to emerge.”