Dance review: Bugs and heartbreak on the card at ‘OUT-spoken,’ the new mixed rep from Seattle contemporary dance company Whim W’Him.
Hateful heartbreak, tentative connection — and buggy gangsters?
“OUT-spoken,” the new mixed rep from Seattle contemporary dance company Whim W’Him, hits some wildly divergent notes as it shows off the talents of three choreographers.
First up is “A Disagreeable Tale of Duplicity” by Whim W’Him founder-director Olivier Wevers. Its story of love, betrayal and broken contracts is straightforward enough. It’s the flourishes — especially Michael Mazzola’s lighting design and Dylan Ward’s electronic distortions of a Prokofiev piano score — that give it its intensity, along with the feverish rigor of the dancing.
Whim W’Him: ‘OUT-spoken’
8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays through June 11, Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 201 Mercer St., Seattle; $15-$25 (800-838-3006 or www.whimwhim.org).
Tory Peil and Patrick Kilbane are a couple being torn apart by outside forces. Left to their own devices, they move in a world of tactile tenderness, a sort of slow-motion whirligig of sensuous entwinement. But when temptation turns up in the form of a showy and manipulative Jim Kent, things go quite literally to hell.
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Peil gives the role of ditched lover her all. But the spookiest touch may be Kyle Johnson and Thomas Phelan as grimly marching militaristic figures in gray hoodies, trying but not succeeding in putting this romance back on course.
Choreographer James Gregg is new to Whim W’Him and his duet for Kilbane and Kent, “Into you I go willingly,” is an intricate, probing piece of work. It’s danced before a striking rectangular gate, vaguely Chinese in design, that offers a weighty contrast to the fluid, floating muscularity of Kilbane and the darting, lithe uncertainties of Kent.
In loose-knit tandem, the men use a seemingly elastic space between them to trigger each other’s actions and reactions. Their rapport, filled with twists and trust, gradually becomes an embrace-on-the-move, as they feel each other out, exploring what might come next.
What comes next is “Delicious Pesticides,” Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s ode to twitching hipster insects. On opening night, the seven dancers’ appearance alone — waggling fingers, jerky head nods, bug-eyed sunglasses — got a round of applause.
To a score that ranges from syncopated techno to soundtrack excerpts from “Pulp Fiction,” mating rituals and bullying wreak havoc on this swarm. Phelan, as the outraged victim of his fellow bugs’ abuse, proves quite the comedian. Peil and Johnson also have their zany moments.
“Pesticides” is goofy fun that has something to say about how eagerly we lap up bad behavior.