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Whim W'Him in T-town

Seattle dance company to perform four original pieces at Pantages Theater

WHIM W'HIM: Featuring him and him. Press photo

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If you haven't seen modern dance, you'll be surprised how much more exciting and beautiful it is than you thought. It's not three lines of pink tutus. You don't need an art degree to understand it. Dance can be relevant. Dance can be modern and accessible. Dance can comment on important social issues.

If you are a modern dance fan, you certainly don't need the Weekly Volcano telling you to check out the Whim W'Him dancers. Whim W'Him (pronounced whim whim), a unique Seattle dance company founded by Olivier Wevers three years ago, takes the Pantages' stage Saturday to shake up your definition of dance.

"We're interested in making art relevant," says Wevers. "What's difficult with dance right now is that it is often really old fashioned. There are a lot of works that were created many years ago that are amazing, but they don't evolve with the time. I think that's what turns off a lot of people about dance. Many people have never been to see dance are not really interested because they think they'll just be watching tutus and point shoes."

Whim W'Him strives for relevancy largely through social commentary that lines up with current issues. The performance at the Pantages will feature four original Whim W'Him pieces that will be resurrected for Tacoma's first look at this dance company. These pieces are: "This is Not a Raincoat," "More," "FRAGMENTS" and "Monster," all created between 2007 and 2010 - all of which take a look at important issues in today's society.

"Monster" is a triptych. Its three parts scrutinizes homophobia and bullying, drug addiction and abusive relationships.

"This is Not a Raincoat" examines acceptance, both self-acceptance and societal acceptance.

"FRAGMENTS" is one of Wevers' older pieces and is set to The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute by Mozart. Dancers lip synch to the operatic backdrop whilst they dance, but also take a very close look at who they are - spiritually, but also physically as the main dancer literally contorts to view every corner of himself.  

The fourth piece, "More," is perhaps the most autobiographical of Wevers and most likely to speak to every member of the audience.

"It's about the constant search that we as a society have to always find something new and something different," says Wevers. "We're never satisfied with what we have. It's very biographical in a way, that as an artist I'm always into the next work, I'm always thinking what can we do, how can we improve this, how can we change this - but also it talks about our society right now and how we're such consumers and always wanting more."

Wevers also points out that Whim W'Him doesn't pass judgment on any of the issues their works deal with. They seek to point them out and start conversations.

Whim W'Him is all about access - not just concerning the actual dance pieces, but also access to their highest caliber of work at the lowest cost. Many Whim W'Him shows stick with a ticket price of just $25 per person, even though the ticket price often doesn't cover the cost of producing the shows. At Pantages, tickets start at just $19 and range up to $58.

"I'm really excited to be in Tacoma," says Wevers. "It's in our backyard, we're neighbors. We want Tacoma to see us, we want Tacoma to know that we're here, we want to feel at home in Tacoma, and we want to come back to Tacoma. We've been doing stuff in Seattle for three years, and now we want to expand and show Tacoma what we've been doing."


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