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whim w’him: starting with a party

Marc von Borstel photos, Michele Locatelli graphic design
PNB principal Olivier Wevers is going out on a whim, and with him (“w’him”) are four PNB dancers, 4 Spectrum dancers, and an independent dancer, Jim Kent. Together, they are Whim W’Him.

Their first show is in January, at On the Boards. In the meantime, in addition to rehearsing—and fulfilling their respective contracts with PNB and Spectrum, for whom they will continue to dance, thank goodness—the company is raising funds.

Keeping true to their mission, which is about fun and spontaneity and artist collaboration, the group is hosting a dance at the Sole Repair Shop tonight ($25, 8pm) and a silent auction/dinner at Steve Jensen Studios tomorrow night ($125, 6pm, Featured auction items? Artwork by 10 artists, including Casey Curran, who is donating this beautiful moving-parts swan, which was part of his recent exhibit at Gallery IMA.

I suppose that more interesting than the fundraisers is: What will Wevers’ work look like, now that he’s not tied to working with a commissioning company, with its specific audience expectations and its specific dancers?

We can tell a bit from the marketing materials, which are so stylish. (These photos were taken by Marc von Borstel, who worked on PNB’s Eleven book years ago. That was gorgeous too. The word is that some of his Whim W’Him images will be printed onto brushed aluminum and auctioned off on Saturday. I bet they’ll be gorgeous!)

And we can tell a bit from the dancers Wevers has chosen to work with. Below is a list that shows their birthplace, training, and performance history.

Ty Alexander Cheng. Born: Seattle, Washington. Training: The Ailey School, The Professional Dance Project. Performances: MOMIX Dance Theater, Balance Dance Theater, Spectrum Dance Theater.

Chalnessa Eames. Born: Bellingham, Washington. Training: Harid Conservatory, Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Performances: Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Jim Kent. Born: Des Moines, Iowa. Training: Cornish College of the Arts. Performances: Wade Madsen’s “The Elements,” Mark Haim’s “The Goldberg Variations,” Scott/Powell Performance, zoe|juniper.

Hannah Lagerway. Born: Seattle, Washington. Training: Southern Methodist University, Laban Center. Performances: Spectrum Dance Theater, Wideman/Davis Dance, Company Flak, Compagnie Cas Public. Lagerway is also a choreographer.

Kylie Lewallen. Born: Los Angeles, California. Training: Patricia Stander. Performance: Dance Peninsula Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater.

Vincent Lopez. Born: Phoenix, Arizona. Training: Budzynski Studios, School of Ballet Arizona, The Ailey School, Thaddeus Davis. Performances: Ballet Austin II, Wideman/ Davis Dance, Spectrum Dance Theater.

Kaori Nakamura. Born: Gumma, Japan. Training: Reiko Yamamoto Ballet Company, School of American Ballet. Performances: Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet; guest artist with Hong Kong Arts Festival, Melbourne Ballet Festival, Dancers for Life. Awards: First prize at the 14th Prix de Lausanne, bronze medal at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria.

Jonathan Porretta. Born: Totowa, New Jersey. Training: School of American Ballet (full scholarship). Performances: Pacific Northwest Ballet, Dances Patrelle; guest artist with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Opera Ballet.

Lucien Postlewaite. Born: Santa Cruz, California. Training: School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Performances: Pacific Northwest Ballet; guest artist with the New York City Ballet, Los Angles Ballet, and in China and Japan. Awards: Level II Award from National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts’ 2003 Arts Recognition and Talent Search, 2008 Princess Grace Award.

Olivier Wevers. Born: Brussels, Belgium. Training: Karys Dance Center. Performances: Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet; guest artist with Ballet Jorgen, Columbia City Ballet, Reiko Yamamoto Ballet Company, Le Gala des Étoiles, Dancers for Life, The Millenium Gala, Aoyama Ballet Festival, Evelyn Hart, New York City Ballet’s Balanchine Centennial, Peter Boal and Company. Awards: Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship Award.