public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:13 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Whim W'him 2012
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12093
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Whim W'him opens 2012 with a program at the Intiman Playhouse in Seattle, Friday through Sunday, January 20-22, 2012. Michael Upchurch previews the program for the Seattle Times.

Seattle Times


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Whim W'him 2012
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12093
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Alice Kaderlan reviews the Friday, January 20, 2012 opening performance by Whim W'him at the Intiman Playhouse for Crosscut.

Crosscut


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Whim W'him 2012
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:43 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 652
Location: Seattle, WA. USA
A Shepherd On The Rock
Whim W’him's "Cast the First Rock In Twenty Twelve"
Intiman Theatre, Sunday 22 January 2012

by Dean Speer

Olivier Wevers tackled a troubling social issue in his latest project, Whim W’him’s "Cast the First Rock in Twenty Twelve." “ThrOwn’s” obvious Biblical reference is that of Christ Jesus’ admonition to those gathered, presumably men, who were poised to stone the adulterous woman, with “Who that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” [John] Everyone will recall that this dispersed the crowd and then he tells her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

This topic is still troubling today on several fronts, not the least of which is that this practice is still being observed in some places, and two, where was the other party, again presumably a man in all this? In other words, why was only the woman condemned and not the man too?

Gender and social class struggles have made much progress but clearly, there is a long ways to go if past practices are tolerated anywhere.

Wevers also posits that we are either participants or not – and, if I may, suggests that no action [that of intervention and change], in itself, bears the sin of our fathers.

Concluding the program, this choreographic rendering depicts a female who is caught, flogged, and then stoned, danced movingly by Chalnessa Eames. In addition to Eames, the large ensemble piece included Andrew Bartee; Jim Kent; Tory Peil; and Lucien Postlewaite, alternately taking the roles of mother, husband, lover, son, comforter, accuser, jailor, and executioner.

To me, this very strong and dramatic piece represents some of Wevers’ most mature and profound work to date, a break-out dance that elevates the work of Whim W’him from the quirky and fun to big-time serious.

He takes a theme and smartly develops it, using many of the compositional tools available to dance and music – a premise, re-statement of it, development, return, fragmentation – breaking it up, transference – all the while moving its narrative forward.

He also, wisely, avoided the maudlin – showing us the tragedy but neither overplaying the hand nor stuffing it down our throats.

The only thing I would have done differently is to have nixed the brief projection of the American flag onto the backdrop, as I felt this was unnecessary as we already got the message. It also, perhaps unintentionally, placed the dance into a certain time period, rather than having it and its message remain timeless.

The conclusion of “ThrOwn” was strong, with four of the characters each dumping a small pile of “stones” on the victim, who is then lifted up. Again, this lighter and not exactly literal treatment of his subject matter actually makes a deeper impact – poetic.

This work also clearly represented a big investment – a designed set by Steve Jensen – backdrop/projection and a floor covering the stage all suggesting a colorful place in the arid desert where camels with hooded riders might appear over the top of the horizon at any moment. Costumes, thoughtfully designed by Christine Joly de Lotbiniere worked perfectly – nothing out of place, each one contributing to the overall affect.

Quirky and fun, though, were the first two dances – a solo for Eames, dolled up to look like the glamorous Zizi Jeanmaire, looking more French than France and a playfully competitive/combative duet for two men who took the phrase “strip poker” to new meaning.

I’ve long enjoyed Eames during her years at Pacific Northwest Ballet and Wevers taps into her technique, experience, and nature showing off her range – from flirty and dancing up a storm to showing beautiful technical control and a myriad of facial expressions, Eames got to do it all. “La Langue de l’Amour” was a solid, fun opener. A bit of a tease.

“Flower Festival” is a reinterpretation the original Bournonville pas de deux, to the music of Helsted but here is for two men, dressed for success in tailored suits who confront each other, then subsequently partner each other in inventive ways such as with one of the suit coats. Bartee and Postlewaite danced the protagonists. Each has amazing facility and Wevers neatly incorporates this so we get to enjoy their technical prowess as well as what the dance itself is saying.

Every choreographer goes through growth and compositional phases and all of us, myself included, seem to have to make at least one “chair” piece. "Flower Festival" is Wevers' "chair piece." While used for setting up a spatial relationship – that of sparring from two, opposite corners of a ring, it would have been fun to have perhaps used the chairs themselves as partner props more.

While the bulk of dance compositions are coming from its director, Wevers, given this new level of the exploration of the human condition, I might lobby for Whim W’him to seriously consider looking into acquisitioning Martha Graham’s more notable work. Graham was a modern dance pioneer in many ways, not the least of which is that she was interested in making dances about real people in real-life situations – sometimes on an epic scale, such as her Greek period pieces – and not about dances where the dancers are birds, flowers, or the moon. Many are beautifully profound, deep and might fit in well with the direction this company is going, appeal to the dancers and to the audiences, showcasing it at its best. It doesn’t have to be Martha – there are many truly great modern dances out there that would be nuggets.

I know from first-hand experience just how time-intensive it is to create and rehearse dances and recognize what it took to pull together all of the various components of this program – marketing, development, artistic creations – which, together, took us in a little under an hour from the light to the dramatic. As Whim W’him repertory builds, I very much look forward to seeing dances that not only entertain but trouble and move us in unexpected ways.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Whim W'him 2012
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 3:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12093
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Seattle Times, Michael Upchurch previews "Approaching Ecstasy," an evening length work choreographed by Olivier Wevers performed to music by Eric Banks, Friday-Sunday, May 18-20, 2012 at the Intiman Playhouse.

Seattle Times


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Whim W'him 2012
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 2:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12093
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Michael Upchurch reviews the Friday, May 18, 2012 performance of "Approaching Ecstasy" for the Seattle Times.

Seattle Times


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Whim W'him 2012
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 12:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 652
Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Easy On Approach
Whim W’him’s “Approaching Ecstasy”
18 May 2012, Intiman Theatre

by Dean Speer

You can usually tell if something is going to be good or satisfactory pretty much from the get-go, such as with a singer, or, in this case, with an evening of new choreography. When conductor and composer Eric Banks lifted his baton and the first few measures of his commissioned composition for Whim W’him’s “Approaching Ecstasy” were unleashed, I found myself thinking, “This is going to be good,” as the music – and its execution – were lovely. Yet, my only real gripe about the evening is musical – each of the 18 relatively short sections were nearly all at the same tempo, about an andantino feeling. A bit of contrast in the pacing would have been welcome.

Never the less, the music reminded me of Howard Hanson’s work, its sound and rhythmic patterns. One local reviewer commented that it was “hymn-like” and I agree. Lovely, rich sounds coming from the string quartet, augmented with harp and the many, often, a cappella voices of The Esoterics group.

The concept and choreography by Olivier Wevers are based on private poems by Constantine P. Cavafy whose work touches on the theme of what it was like to be a gay man in Egypt 100 years ago and in the sixteenth poem, wishing that 100 years from then – our era – that everyone would be able to live more freely.

I liked how the cast – singers first – entered from upstage right through stage set that functioned like a theatre vomitory, disgorging its contents on a deep diagonal who then took seats on chairs placed for them on the edges of either side of the stage. Logically then came the dancers through who engaged in setting up context through spacial relationships and gesture.

Andrew Bartee’s opening solo – or perhaps better, a duet with a table helped set the tone of movement motifs – inventive, quirky, extended “pedestrian movement,” and deployment of each dancer’s native and beautiful technique.

As with some of his other pieces, Wevers is not overt in showing and developing his theme but builds them through successive stages and interactions.

Each of the very beautiful dancers, Bartee, Chalnessa Eames, Jim Kent, Kaori Nakamura, Shane Ohmer [who looks like the twin of "Dancing With The Stars'" William Levy], Tory Peil, and Lucien Postlewaite dug into the material 100 percent, which helped give us an evening of serious work but one that also resonated with elements of beauty and closeted love.

Nakamura, whose appearance may be easily described as ethereal, portrayed a character who seemed to be, at times, in search of herself and at others representing the spiritual side of humanity. As always her pointe work, technique and dancing were smooth and flawless.

The 90 minute work concluded with a retrograde procession, out through the portal and into the cool, Egyptian night.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group