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Whim W'him "Crave More"

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Tonight is the last performance of Whim W'him's "Crave More" program at the Playhouse at Seattle Center (formerly the Intiman).

If you're in Seattle, go see it.

Either of the two works in the middle half of the program, "More", Olivier Wevers' solo for Andrew Bartee and "Before After", Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's duet, which she danced with Lucien Postlewaite, make it worth seeing this program. "More" is a witty, passionate take on another ballet icon, "The Red Shoes," and Andrew Bartee is brilliant in it. The partnering in "Before After" is dynamically varied, full of striking shifts. Choreography's gain is the loss of a gorgeous dancer in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and she and Lucien Postlewaite looked like they had been lifelong partners in it.

The program began and ended with longer works. Lopez Ochoa's "Crave" was the opening. Unlike Oliver Wevers' "The Sofa", the closer, in which the Mozart score provided a clear structure, "Crave" was set to an compiled electronic score that was more of a canvas than driver, and on first viewing, while some of the movement was striking, the piece looked like it could use some editing.

"The Sofa" was choreographed for Grand Rapids Ballet, and two dancers from GRB, Yuka Oba and Nick Schultz" joined the Whim W'him company to perform it. The sofa is a main character in the work; the last time I saw Wevers choreograph with a sofa, it was for a burlesque show, and it was great to see how he shifted in tone for this newer work, keeping it witty without the cheek. The tableaus on the sofa were the strongest part of the piece when seen in such a small theater: the timing was perfect and the movement was precise. The dancing in the rest read more broad than nuanced in the small space and could have used more contrast among the couples; in a larger theater, the same dancing would have read, even if more contrast would have made more impact. It was enormous fun, though, which is extraordinarily difficult to sustain without distortion; this may have been the greatest strength of this work.

The costumes for "The Sofa" with a modern take on period, were superb, especially a purple overlay to the two-toned short body suits worn by the central woman, in which the billowing skirt was a character of its own, a nice offset to the purple sofa. The recording, especially for the first movement, was painfully loud, at least from where we were sitting.*

The last performance, tonight, is a 7pm. The ticket prices are ridiculously low for an arts performance of this quality.

*Edited to add: I just learned this was a technical glitch in last night's performance, not imbedded in the recording.

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