September 10, 2017, evening
Choreographic Shindig III: The Background Hum of Stimuli, Summoning, Limitation Etudes: 7-10
Chosen by the dancers themselves, this year’s edition of Whim W’Him’s Choreographic Shindig (III) was not only well-curated but programmed well. The evening opened with a humorous and light piece, the middle featured one that was solemn, and it concluded with a serious work based on a choreographer’s personal journey dealing with a health issue that may possibly affect her future ability to demonstrate movement or even to see it. Yet it was a dance that ended on a note of hope.
The lead-in to Bruno Roque’s The Background Hum of Stimuli was a riot: a “Siri”-like voiceover telling how to get to the theatre using possible but improbable directions unique to Seattle’s quirky highways and byways. Dancers came onto the stage in a wedge, all looking at their respective hand-held devices, which gave them dance directions, such as “circle right” (and everyone went left), “no! the OTHER right!,” “now bounce,” etc. This all funneled into “Siri” playing jazz music and the dancers incrementally getting into and building to a full-blown and well constructed jazz dance. The work concluded with the dancers being taken out of their dance reverie by one of their cell/smart phones ringing. It was well done, very amusing, and served as a good opener.
Summoning used ritual as its base – such as divining water, finding spirit(s) in nature and rocks, and using them in various ways, such as placing these rocks on a dancer’s body. It was meditative, and it made a deep artistic statement. A deep and lasting piece, choreographed by Adam Barruch.
Banning Bouldin’s Limitation Etudes: 7-10 used long, elastic bands tethered to single dancers, but affecting the others. Section One was “Perseverance,” followed by “Monologues on the theme of Mastery,” then “Resistance,” concluding with “A Partnership on the theme of Assistance.” Bouldin explored these ideas and themes with great care, thought and nice development, and ended with hope as one dancer tenderly lifted another, caressing that dancer as if a child.
The lighting for each piece was by Michael Mazzola.
Whim W’Him’s dancers are a cadre of professional dance artists who always bring their “A-game” and who infuse each dance with just the right amount of technique, savvy, tone, and poetic expression. Kudos to: Laine Aung; Cameron Birts; Adrian Hoffman; Jim Kent; Mia Monteabaro; Tory Peil; and Karl Watson.