La Langue de l’amour is a frothy, sassy, provocative little solo in the tradition of last year’s hit Coquette. Choreographed last fall by Whim W’Him‘s Olivier Wevers, it premiered in November 2011 as part of a New Orleans Ballet Association and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts  program by the sensational duo Jacoby & Pronk.

The structured wisp of a frock for La Langue was whipped up by Christine Joly de Lotbiniere, who is also constructing costumes for ThrOwn, the pièce de resistance of Whim W’Him‘s January 20-22, 2012 performances at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre. These two works couldn’t be more different in tone, style or intention. Yet striking and intriguing visual threads (mesh, dark bands) connect the basic garment worn by all five dancers, female and male, in ThrOwn, with the soloist’s costume in La Langue.

ThrOwn—men, sketch

It is not, I venture to say, mere accident that the same dancer, Chalnessa Eames, is both the teasing soloist of Langue—playing with the audience, giving Domenico Scarlatti an unexpectedly erotic charge—and the tragic protagonist sentenced to death by stoning in ThrOwn. Although the central preoccupation of ThrOwn is the death penalty, transgressive sex—frivolous in the one case, dangerous in the other—is at the core of both these pieces, whose altogether disparate spirits afford the audience a thought-provoking contrast between modern, hyper-sophisticated urban mores and ancient notions of women and sexuality dating back at least to Biblical times.