Diavolo

Diavolo was founded in 1992 in Los Angeles by Jacques Heim to create large-scale interdisciplinary performances which examine the funny and frightening ways individuals act with their environment. The craftiness and wit of Diavolo is captured by the stylized fox logo. Constantly changing the image presented to the audience, Diavolo has developed a movement vocabulary that creates an almost cinematic experience of powerful images that develop abstract narratives of the human condition. Diavolo has attracted the critics’ attention from the very beginning. After seeing Diavolo’s first Los Angeles performance, Los Angeles Times dance critic Lewis Segal wrote of Heim that the performance “establishes him as a creative force in the community, someone with both a compelling vision and the ability to inspire others to uncompromising performances.” In 1993, the young company was nominated for two Lester Horton Awards in Los Angeles, and in 1995, the company made its European debut at the Edinburgh Festival where it was named Best of the Fest by The London Independent and Critic’s Choice by The Guardian. The company also received three Lester Horton Awards in 1995 for the work Tete en L’Air. In 1997, Artistic Director Jacques Heim was recognized by the Los Angeles Times as one of “36 Faces to Watch.”

I would describe the work of Diavolo as Architecture in Motion. I am interested in the architecture of space and how we inhabit it. I am fascinated by the relationship and interaction of humans with their architectural environment – how it is affecting us, not just socially but physically and emotionally. I call myself more of an architect of motion than a choreographer. Diavolo is a fusion of many different movement vocabularies such as everyday movement, ballet, contemporary, acrobatics, gymnastics, martial arts, and hip-hop. What we do on stage is like a live abstract painting. There is no narrative, but strong themes pervade the work such as human struggle, fear, danger, survival, chaos, order, deconstruction, reconstruction, destiny, destination, faith, and love.– Jacques Heim

Biography

The company is comprised of dancers, gymnasts and actors who create performances collaboratively under the guidance of Heim. The sets created are outrageous and surrealistic and form an intrinsic part of each piece of work. Everyday items such as doors, chairs and stairways provide the back-drop for dramatic movement – leaping, flying, twirling – that creates metaphors for the challenge of relationships, the absurdities of life and the struggle to maintain our humanity in an increasingly technological world.The 10 member company currently has over a dozen works in repertoire (ranging from 10 to 75 minutes in length), most of which travel easily and can be adapted to large and small scale venues. Diavolo’s residency program, Learning To Fly, offers a broad range of community and educational workshops complementing the company’s dance performances. Employing the Diavolo technique, the program encourages risk-taking, trust and teamwork as means for achieving personal goals and interpersonal aspirations. Reaching In/Reaching Out currently offers four student level (K-12) workshops, and five college, community and professional level workshops. The residency programs are continually being adapted to fit a particular group’s affinity or needs.

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