For 25 years, the Diavolo Dance Company has been referred to as Los Angeles’ wild child.
The dare devil dancers will be rolling into Hamilton next Friday to present “Volo – Architecture in Motion” as part of the Bitterroot Performing Arts Series.
With huge portable stage props – some resembling playground equipment – the creative athletes will leap, bound and most likely break every school playground safety rule imaginable.
“We are so excited about our upcoming performance by Diavolo,” BPAC Executive Director Laurie Ruffner said. “The level of athleticism and technical expertise, grace and movement is spectacular. This performance will delight, awe and leave our audience breathless.”
Diavolo is led by founding choreographer Jacques Heim. Ruffner said after graduating from the California Institute of the Arts, Heim was invited by Cirque du Soleil to choreograph the performance of Ka’ which premiered in 2005 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas hotel. He also served as creative director of the opening ceremonies of the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in 2010.
“The creative process and the resulting performance by Diavolo will be very similar to Ka’,” Ruffner said. “It’s just incredible that we can have this kind of talent come to our rural community and perform on our Hamilton stage.”
Heim said on his website, “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”
Heim readily admits that he does not choreograph his work alone. He actively works with his dancers to conceptualize a collective vision and exploration of the possibilities. He said his dancers are not stereotypical.
“These artists perform different dance styles as well as difficult acrobatic feats,” he said. “They tumble over giant wheels, down metal stairs and move like liquid in and out of different set openings. The women are as strong as the men and at times not only do all the gymnastic movements that the men do, but they do so while wearing heels.”
Diavolo has created an institute of learning in Los Angeles and prioritizes educational outreach while on tour. The day before the Hamilton performance, the dance troupe will offer an interactive matinee for dance students at the University of Montana. Hamilton High School senior and accomplished dancer, Josie VanDenburg, has also been invited to attend the workshop. During the hour-long workshop, dancers will discuss teamwork, elements of choreography and interactive trust exercises.
“It’s always a priority for the Bitterroot Performing Arts Council to arrange educational outreach experiences with our performers when possible,” Ruffner said. “They’re not here just for entertainment purposes, we want them to encourage and enlighten our young people as well.”
The Oct. 15 performance is sponsored by Opportunity Bank of Hamilton and local resident, Judy Morrisey, who is a former professional dancer.
“My priority is for many dancers and young people to be influenced by these amazing artists as possible,” she said.
As a result, a certain number of scholarship tickets have been set aside for youth to attend the concert. Local teenagers interested in the scholarship tickets can put their name on a waiting list at the BPAC box office by calling 363-7946.
“We appreciate all those sponsors and donors who make opportunities like this possible,” Ruffner said. “It truly will be an unforgettable evening.”
Ruffner reminds that subscriptions are still available for those interested in purchasing a flex package, which is four of the six performances offered this season.
“We want to fill the house and have as many as possible witness incredible evenings of talent,” she said.
“Volo – Architecture in Motion” will be presented Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at the Hamilton Performing Arts Center. Tickets may be purchased in person at the BPAC Box Office at 127 West Main St. suite 103 in Hamilton or online at www.bitterrootperformingarts.org. More information is available by calling the box office at 406.363.7946.