Six dancers on the floor—kneeling or curled in positions only a dancer could find comfortable, one in a split—watch intently as quarter-inch high figures spin across an iPad screen to Mozart in a video of The Sofa, by Whim W’Him artistic director Olivier Wevers. Excitement in the studio is palpable and spirits high.
There’s laughter. Dancers mark steps with their hands as they jog their memory. Lots to remember. They haven’t danced it since January. The movement is intricate; certain segments vary just slightly from others; dancers must recall the swift shiftings of a heavy Victorian sofa about the stage and how to hook it to ropes that hoist it high in the air at the piece’s end.
And they need to get it right. Two weeks from today, Whim W’Him opens at Manhattan’s Joyce Theater in a two-night run that also includes Olivier’s highly praised Monster…
Next Tuesday Jim Kent heads out to Michigan to rehearse his Sofa role with Grand Rapids Ballet‘s Laura McQueen Schultz. A week from Friday, they and the rest of the Grand Rapids contingent—Yuka Oba and Laura’s husband Nicholas Schultz—along with Melody Mennite of Houston Ballet and Lucien Postlewaite of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo will all fly in to New York to meet up with Andrew Bartee, Kyle Mathew Johnson, Mia Monteabaro, Tory Peil, and Lara Seefeldt coming from Seattle.
Meanwhile, the intrepid Molly Magee, of Bamberg Fine Art Photography, Whim W’Him’s photographic team, will fly to Grand Rapids to pick up a truck, the sofa, other props and costumes to drive them to New York, where everyone is converging next Saturday.
Up next: a report from Canada on this week’s World Dance Alliance conference, and more on the Joyce from on the spot in New York City.