Described as dancing daredevils, Diavolo Dance Theater fly into Arts Centre Melbourne for a strictly limited season. Leaping from large set pieces with the grace of ballerinas and skateboarding across the stage like extreme sportsmen, this thrill-seeking company presents the double bill Architecture in Motion inspired by urban design and cityscapes.
Architecture in Motion opens with a sequence called Trajectoire set on a 21-century galleon. Like a ship on the waves, the 17-foot-long structure rocks back and forth and the dancers are catapulted across the stage as the momentum builds. An exercise in physics as much as jaw-dropping acrobatic feats, Trajectoire epitomises Diavolo Dance Theater’s exhilarating combination of dance, stuntwork and clever engineering.
In the second piece, Transit Space references Southern California’s skateboard culture and the 2001 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys. Set in a skate park, the dancers move about the stage with the speed, fearlessness and determination of extreme sportsmen.
With dancers swerving around on makeshift skateboards and hurtling their bodies up and down an ever-moving network of vertical ramps, the work is a strong metaphor for the transitory stage of adolescence, as well as the kinaesthesis between skateboarding and dancing.
Diavolo Dance Theater was established by artisitic director Jacques Heim in 1992, who aimed to expand the boundaries of what is considered to be dance by creating movement that offers audiences a cinematic experience of powerful images and abstract narratives.
Most recently, the Los Angeles Philharmonic commissioned Diavolo Dance Theater to create a trilogy of dance pieces to premiere with the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl: Foreign Bodies (2007), set to the music of Esa-Pekka Salonen; Fearful Symmetries (2010), set to the music of John Adams; and Fluid Infinities, which premiered in September 2013, set to the music of Philip Glass.
Outside of Diavolo Dance Theater, Heim has choreographed Cirque du Soleil’s KA, the circus company’s permanent show at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, and was creative director for 2010’s Opening Ceremony of the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
Creativity runs in Heim’s family – his grandfather, Jacques Heim Snr, was a prominent Paris fashion designer who is credited with co-creating the bikini. His clientele included fashion icons such as Edith Piaf, Brigitte Bardot and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower.
Diavolo Dance Theatre – Architecture in Motion
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 5 – 9 February 2014
Bookings: 1300 182 183 or online at: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
Image: Diavolo Dance Theater by Kristie Kahns