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Seattle choreographer awarded prestigious fellowship

Whim W'Him Artistic Director Olivier Wevers is one of three Seattle artists awarded Princess Grace awards this year.

A Wever-choreographed scene from one of Whim W'Him's productions.

A Wever-choreographed scene from one of Whim W'Him's productions. Whim W'Him

Olivier Wever, the recipient of this year's Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship.

Olivier Wever, the recipient of this year's Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship. Whim W'Him

Seattle choreographer Olivier Wevers, Artistic Director of Whim W’Him, has been awarded a prestigious 2011 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship. Wevers was nominated for the award by Spectrum Dance Theatre Artistic Director Donald Byrd, who has nurtured Wevers’ choreographic career. The $10,000 award will allow Wevers to create a new dance work for Spectrum Dance Theatre.

“This is a huge honor,” Wevers said in an interview with Crosscut, “and gives me the confidence that I’m going in the right direction with my work. But it also puts more pressure on. I feel that I need to live up to this.”

Almost as soon as he received notice of the award, Wevers started to think about the piece he’ll create for Spectrum. He’s chosen music by Johan Johannson that he says has a “dark and mysterious” feeling and has some ideas about costumes, but the hard work of creating the movement is yet to come. Given the local buzz about Wevers — all recent Whim W’Him performances have received critical acclaim and performed to sold-out houses — the new work is bound to get a lot of attention whenever it opens.

Wevers isn’t the only local dance artist to receive a Princess Grace award this year. Of the eight winners in the dance category, three are from Seattle. Besides Wevers, choreographer Zoe Scofield and PNB corps member Margaret Mullin have been recognized as emerging artists. Scofield’s new dance piece will be created for Houston’s DiverseWorks art and performance space. All winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony and gala hosted by Prince Albert II of Monaco in New York in November.

Alice Kaderlan is an award-winning journalist on the arts and other subjects, based in Seattle. She is also a monthly dance critic on KUOW Presents. You may reach her at editor@crosscut.com


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