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Whim W'him's "In-Spired"

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Whim W'him premiered it's In-Spired" program last Friday, with three new works for Olivier Wevers' company, and it included new dancer, Patrick Kilbane.

What struck me about the first two works, Olivier Wevers' "Brahms and Tights" and Mark Haim's "Overflow," was how much vocabulary, grouping, and partnering they had in common, as if the movement was developed in a joint workshop, and then each choreographer chose his own music -- for Wevers, Brahms' Violin Concerto and for Haim, the "Prelude" and (orchestrated) "Liebestod" from "Tristan und Isolde" -- and used the material in his own way. Wevers' work was pure movement, and Haim had more, for lack of a better word, mime, or short, more theatrical interactions between the dancers. It was a great contrast, and Haim's injection of narrative tied well into the third work, Dominic Walsh's "The Ghost Behind Me," set to live music by Houston's Two Star Symphony, which was a narrative work with a central character (Kilbane) manipulated by Puppet Master (Justin Reiter) and character with more than a hint of Death in "La Valse" (Kyle Johnson).

While different members of the company were highlighted many times in Wevers' and Haim's dances, they were very much ensemble works, with sections moving seamlessly into another. Walsh's piece had a featured role for Kilbane, which was a great intro to the audience of this stellar dancer. He's new to the ensemble, who have their own subtle interworkings and dynamics, and I suspect by the final show of the season, he'll have found his niche among them.

There is definitely a change from the four men/three women to five men/two women dynamic. I thought Tory Peil did the strongest work I've seen from her, especially in the Haim, and it was also great to see Thomas Phelan look more and more compelling.

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