If we’re talking about all-time favorites in dance, then I would definitely have to give my vote to Diavolo Dance Company, which I’ve seen perform 3 times at St. Ben’s. They blow my mind each and every time! The company is out of Los Angeles, where Artistic Director Jacques Heim pushes the boundaries of using dance to explore everyday human patterns and emotions. It’s a lot like Cirque De Soleil, with two major differences: 1.) No crazy costumes and 2.) Large architectural structures.
This excerpt from Jacques Heim’s artistic vision on Diavolo’s website articulates their aim more beautifully than I ever could. Please take a moment to read it. It’s very thought-provoking:
As Modern society becomes more complex with new technologies and marvelous possibilities, the everyday act of survival becomes increasingly fraught with danger and anxiety. My work investigates the latent absurdities of contemporary human life and seeks to recontextualize those absurdities through the body, exploring the influences of the environment, possessions and relationships. My aim is to capture and comment upon the ironic and frequently humorous patterns, as well as the darker consequences, of human behavior. I am also searching to expand the boundaries of what is considered to be dance by trying to create movement that offers audiences a cinematic experience of powerful images and abstract narratives.
Through the company, I try to convey an appreciation for movement by breaking down barriers to dance via a vocabulary based on everyday activities. Diavolo is made up of people of varied abilities and training – dancers, gymnasts, rock climbers, and actors – all of whom are teammates. Building a team that allows for complete trust has been essential to creating a kind of work where dancers are inspired to take serious risks. Architectural structures or sculpted adaptations of everyday items – sofas, doors, stairs – provide the backdrop for dramatic and risky movement, revealing metaphors for the challenge of maintaining human relationships in modern environments.
Nicely put, huh? In closing, all I have to say is that if and when Diavolo comes to your city, you MUST GO!