This is not a whim. After dancing with Pacific Northwest Ballet for 13 years, Olivier Wevers’ sudden announcement that April would mark his last month with the company came as a shock to many in the dance community. But for the principal dancer for the Northwest institution, the decision wasn’t sudden at all.
“When Peter [Boal, Artistic Director of PNB] told me in December that he wasn’t going to cast me in lead parts anymore, I started to wonder, ‘What’s the point of me being there?’” the Brussels-born dancer recalled. As the season continued and he was only offered a small role in Giselle, it hit hard. “I started my career with Giselle,” he said.
Wevers joined PNB in 1997 when Kent Stowell and Francia Russell were the artistic directors. He gracefully danced numerous lead roles including Romeo, Prince Désiré in Sleeping Beauty and Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake. Then, in 2009 Wevers founded Whim W’Him, a contemporary dance company that blends original choreography, balletic training and innovative ideas. After only two years, the company’s successes are accumulating rapidly. Last year it won the $5,000 Grand Prize Award at the 13th Annual Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival in Palm Desert, Calif., and was chosen as Intiman Theatre’s first-ever dance company in residence. Last month, Whim W’Him made its international debut at the 4th annual Copenhagen International Choreography Festival.
“Olivier Wevers is one of the most versatile artists ever to be a member of PNB,” Stowell and Russell said in a joint statement. “We envision Olivier’s second career as Artistic Director and Choreographer of Whim W’Him equaling his first life as a dancer: exciting and inspiring young dancers and dance enthusiasts.”
Boal, who has worked with Wevers since 2005, wishes him only the best. “Olivier has given hundreds of performances in dozens of plum roles,” he said. “With each, he leaves his mark. Olivier and Whim W’Him are off to a very promising start.”
Wevers says he is energized about the future and fully embracing his new role.
“I’m totally satisfied,” he said. “There’s nothing I feel like I am missing. I’m very excited, and very much at peace.”