So says Whim w’Him artistic director Olivier Wevers. Hands are often used as no more than decoration or extension of a position, and feet can become either just a means of propulsion or the object of attention in themselves—mere “fancy footwork.” In his choreography Olivier strives to weld the entire body and its limbs into an expressive unit, to make it say something all together. Sometimes one body part can express something and another contradict it, but the whole needs to convey a distinct idea or emotion.
Olivier has used several forms of footwear in his works. Each serves a purpose, helps to communicate something particular. He’s used pointe shoes…
It’s a bit of a current trend among contemporary dance companies to use socks.
As Olivier says, “There is something about them that is never just posing and static.
With socks you can go a bit further.”
“With bare feet on the floor,” says Olivier, “you’re stuck, you use your feet in a suction way.” Socks give more freedom of motion. You can slide, spin, and switch position or direction as you go. “Even a soft shoe doesn’t let you do that.” He loves the fluid quality feet in socks contribute to the dance.
And there is something a little dangerous-feeling about watching dancers in socks,
a sense that you don’t quite know what will happen, where or how they will land.
In fact there still seems to be quite a bit of alarm in some circles about the peril of socks on wood or marley floors. Whatever the case, you have to be a very surefooted and confident dancer to master and love to experiment with their special characteristics.