In its fifth year of performing, innovative Seattle dance company Whim W’Him is performing its first full-length evening of works on Capitol Hill with eight performances at the Erickson Theatre. This seven member company created by ballet dancer Olivier Wevers has typically performed at the Cornish Playhouse. The Capitol Hill performances will be a rare opportunity to see the dancers away from the Seattle Center in the 150-seat Erickson. They’re also planning to place the first row of seats directly on stage for what sounds like a most immersive experience.
“Bringing our work to Capitol Hill will enable more folks to see the art we create,” executive director Katie Bombico said.
Bombico has been supporting Wevers’ concept of a building a company since she saw him dance at Pacific NW Ballet’s Laugh Out Loud and “was completely blown away by his talent and potential. His movement was unique but I could see how people relate to it. I had a moment of, ‘I wonder if he needs help.’ It’s been an exciting journey.”
There are some “firsts” planned for the Capitol Hill run, too. This is the first time the company will have a two-weekend stand. Usually it’s three nights only. They typically have an opening night party and this time will have a “Re-opening night party” for second weekend where the first 50 people in the door will get a condom courtesy of Babeland.
Bombico says, “Our production theme is Unprotected, so we’re playing with the idea with Babeland of ‘protection for the unprotected.’”
The pieces were created specifically to fit the Erickson’s space configuration. “The hallmarks of our mission are innovation and collaboration,” Bombico said. “So we have three different choreographers.”
- “Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is returning with a fifth work, her third new creation for us called Les Biches (female deer). Four women will wear otherworldly costumes exploring females as goddesses with extended fingernails and bald caps.”
- “Andrew Bartee, a current PNB dancer, choreographs I’m Here But It’s Not the Same, which is about the relationship between mother and child and the inevitability of change.
- “Olivier will present Above the Cloud. It explores space and trust and virtual connectedness. This one has interesting sets. Seven giant pillows created for the performance that are huge, about 5’ x 5’. He likes to include objects that seem like they are more dancers. It’s his 13th new creation and all seven dancers are in the piece. It’s set to Poulenc’s Organ Concerto in G Minor.”
Bombico says that when Wevers was contemplating a name for the company, he was firm that he didn’t want it to be his name, a common practice for dance groups. He wanted “whim” in the name and Bombico said that Wevers’ husband Lucien Postlewaite (a dancer, himself, who now dances with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo) suggested that the second “whim” have an apostrophe like “with him.” Meanwhile, the “w” could also stand for Wevers’ last name.
You can ask about it yourself. After each Capitol Hill performance there will be a “talk-back.” Audiences are encouraged to stay and ask any questions they’d like.
Whim W’Him dancers include: Geneva Jenkins, Kyle Johnson, Jim Kent, Mia Monteabaro, Tory Peil, Thomas Phelon, Lara Seefeldt, and apprentice Madeline DeVries.
#unprotected performances run Thursday, May 15th through Friday, May 23rd in the Erickson at 1524 Harvard Ave. You can learn more and purchase tickets at whimwhim.org.