Acclaimed dancers and creators bring Whim W’Him’s “Spring ‘23” to Vashon

Emilie Leriche and Rauf Yasit, alongside Whim W’Him’s founder and artistic director Olivier Wevers, have created new works in the dance performance.

The Seattle contemporary dance company, Whim W’Him, will present “Spring ‘23,” an evening of dance featuring new creations by three choreographers, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, at Vashon Center for the Arts.

Featuring the work of internationally acclaimed creators Emilie Leriche and Rauf Yasit, alongside Whim W’Him’s founder and artistic director Olivier Wevers, the concert will showcase the vanguard of contemporary dance.

From ballet training in his native Belgium, Wevers learned the beauty, passion and discipline of the art.

On coming to North America at age 19, he discovered the exhilaration of many new dance forms. As a principal dancer, first with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and later, for most of his dancing career, with Pacific Northwest Ballet, he acquired his strong conviction that dancers are the heart and soul of a company.

During his years of performing in classical and contemporary works by choreographers from around the world, Wevers also discovered the thrill of making dances and how imaginative story-telling and movement exploration connect to caring about individuality and physicality.

Creating dances fed his perennial curiosity. It became “my way to express myself and, during the process, to be able to learn more about the human condition, start dialogues, touch people and share ideas, reflecting on our times and our humanity,” he said.

Leriche is a French-American dancer and creator, based in Sweden with GöteborgsOperans Danskompani. During her time with the company, she has originated roles in new works by Yoann Bourgeois, Paul and Christine Blackman, Sharon Eyal, Club Guy and Roni, Roy Assaf, Marina Mascarell, and Damien Jalet.

Leriche began her career dancing with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; after two years in their second company, she spent another four dancing in the main company prior to moving to Sweden.

Over her years at GöteborgsOperan, she has created work for Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, and generated her own research alongside her colleagues at GöteborgsOperan. In 2021, her project, On Mending (a collaboration with Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern), was selected as a part of Orsolina 28’s “Call for Creation” fellowship and residency initiative. With the support of the Princess Grace Foundation, in 2022, the work will continue its development in residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City.

Yasit, also known as Rubberlegz, is a Los Angeles-based choreographer, director, dancer, and visual artist who was born and raised in Germany. When he was a child, his father — a folklore dance teacher — taught him traditional folk dances. It didn’t take long for him to discover his passion for break dancing. As a self-taught B-Boy, he began perfecting his skills in 1998.

Not long after, he was aptly dubbed “RubberLegz” by his mentor Maxim, for his ability to miraculously contort his body into unthinkable shapes and positions. For years, he competed in and judged competitions worldwide. To this day, he continues to perform and teach workshops all around the globe.

By 2007 his repertoire evolved to include performing in contemporary dance productions. Rubberlegz was recently awarded as “Best Dancer 2019,” by Danza&Danza Magazine for his ‘original language’ that breaks down barriers between dance genres.

He has worked with William Forsythe, National Opera of Paris, USC, CalArts, LACMA, Malou Airaudo, MuDA, Nike RT, Burberry, GAP, Arashi, Puma, Replay, Sadlers Wells, Flying Steps, Red Bull, Muscle Milk, Moderat, Sony, Sonos, Fiat, WAD MAG, Tumi, HP, Pandora, Pfadfinderei, PACT Zoll Verein, ArtFactory International, CNDC Angers, LMU, Bodytraffic, Jacob Jonas The Company, Renegade Theatre Herne, Andy Hines, Jessica Young, Justin Daashur Hopkins, Elliott Sellers, OURO Collective, Modus Operandi and more.

RubberLegz’s talents are not limited to dance. While pursuing his dance passion, he received his diploma in 3D visualization and animation. He worked for several years with professional design agencies, as a visual artist, before moving to Berlin and working as a freelance artist in both design and dance. In Los Angeles, he is busy focusing on his many projects that incorporate his photography, design and dance skills.

Find out more and purchase tickets for “Spring ‘23” at Youths 18 and younger will be admitted free to the performance.