Seattle's Whim W'Him, launched in 2009, has come a long way from its project-based start. This spring, the company announced a 24-week contract for seven dancers that will round out the company's 2014–15 season. Olivier Wevers, Whim W'Him's artistic director and former principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, spoke with Pointe about his plans for the company's future.
What can you do now that you couldn't before?
Being a full-time company gives me a core of dancers who are always there, and helps the dancers build their group dynamic. Incoming choreographers can just create, rather than worrying about scheduling.
Will you continue to cultivate choreographers from within your own ranks?
I'm open to my dancers choreographing. For an upcoming project, they're picking the choreographer. I want them to be part of the process, not just tools or instruments. I can't wait to see whom they choose.
Where do you see the company going, stylistically?
I'm moving more toward contemporary work myself. But the choreographers coming in sometimes want the girls on pointe. And my version of contemporary has the discipline and articulation of ballet, really using the toes and the feet.
How do you see Whim W'Him fitting into the Seattle dance scene?
We definitely draw a different crowd than PNB. Some people who followed me from PNB have ended up not being interested in Whim W'Him. It's too weird for them. We're in a smaller theater; we're right up in your face. Now that we're better funded, we would love to go and show off, go to different communities and see how they like us. We have giant goals.