Diavolo returns to Edison Theatre

Surreal sets and athletic movements combine for breathtaking dance March 27 and 28

Doors that dance, chairs that twirl, a cage that doubles as a gymnastics apparatus. Welcome to the world of Diavolo, the high-flying Los Angeles company known for examining the funny, frightening and unexpected ways individuals interact with their environments.


Diavolo performs *Trajectoire* at Edison Theatre March 27 and 28.

Next week Diavolo will return to St. Louis as part of the Edison Theatre OVATIONS Series. Performances will begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 27 and 28. Tickets are $32; $28 seniors and Washington University faculty and staff; and $20 for students and children.

In addition, Diavolo will present an all-ages matinee as part of the ovations for young people series at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28. Tickets are $10.

Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call (314) 935-6543 or email Edison@wustl.edu.

Diavolo was founded in Los Angeles in 1992 by Paris-born choreographer Jacques Heim. He begins each piece by creating a distinctively surreal set, around which the 10-member company then begins a process of structured improvisation.

“Architectural structures or sculpted adaptations of everyday items – sofas, doors, stairs – provide the backdrop for dramatic and risky movement,” Heim explains.



“I try to convey an appreciation for movement by breaking down barriers to dance via a vocabulary based on everyday activities,” he adds. “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.”

The Edison Theatre concert will begin with Tete En L’Air (1994/2008), which translates as “head in the sky.” Inspired by the surreal work of French filmmaker Jacques Tati, the piece explores the journey of isolation faced by citizens in the modern world. Next on the program will be Knockturne (2006), an intimate duet built on and around a simple door; and D2R-A (1995/2005), in which an abstract obstacle course evokes the trenches of war and the restrictions of being physically wounded.

Caged, a current work-in-progress, investigates themes of confinement, pressure, freedom, escape and entrapment. Then, following intermission, the program will conclude with Trajectoire (Section 1: 1999, Section 2: 2001), a major piece set on a large, abstracted galleon, in which the company is figuratively set adrift — sink or swim — upon the ever-shifting landscape of human relations in modern society.

A 15-minute Q & A with the company will immediately follow the performance.

Heim earned a BFA in Theatre, Dance and Film from Middlebury College in Vermont; a certificate for Analysis and Criticism of Dance from the University of Surrey in England; and an MFA in choreography from the California Institute for the Arts. In addition to his work with Diavolo, Heim choreographed Ka for Cirque du Soleil, which opened in 2005 and is still running in Las Vegas. He is currently working on Cirque’s as yet unnamed Dubai project, set to open in 2011. His numerous honors include the Lester Horton award for Best Choreography; the Martha Hill Choreography Award from the American Dance Festival; and fellowships from the James Irvine Foundation and the Brody Arts Fund.


Founded in 1973, the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.

Edison Theatre programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The OVATIONS! Season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Diavolo

WHAT: Dance concert

WHEN: OVATIONS: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 27 and 28; ovations for young people: 11 a.m. Saturday, March 28

WHERE: Edison Theatre, Washington University, Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

TICKETS: OVATIONS: $32; $28 for seniors and WUSTL faculty and staff; $20 for students and children; ovations for young people: $10. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets

SPONSORS: Edison Theatre OVATIONS and ovations for young people