Society & Culture

Performing Arts Center opens 2010-2011 season with Diavolo Dance Theatre

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Performing Arts Center will open the 2010-2011 season-its fifteenth-with a very special presentation by Diavolo Dance Theatre. A cutting-edge dance and movement company from California, Diavolo’s performances on Sept. 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. will be the first in the recently restored Fine Arts Theatre. Members of Diavolo also will be in residence on campus, offering master classes for UGA students and training select dance and theatre students to perform with the company for the Fine Arts Theatre shows.

Diavolo is a unique company whose members are dancers, gymnasts, actors and athletes. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Jacques Heim, the members collaboratively develop their performance pieces on a striking combination of oversized sets and everyday structures. The structural elements and surrealistic set pieces of Diavolo create a sense of daring and risk taking through dramatic movement that juxtaposes human fragility and survival.

Heim founded Diavolo in Los Angeles in 1992. Diavolo made its European debut in 1995 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it was named Best of the Fest by the LondonIndependent and Critic’s Choice by The Guardian. In 1998, the company opened the performance series at the new Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles, and in 2004 the company performed live at the tenth annual American Choreography Awards.

Because of the unusual and innovative way that Diavolo works with architectural structures, the creative team at Cirque du Soleil was inspired to hire Heim to choreograph a show in Las Vegas, entitled Ka, which opened in February of 2005 and is still running. In 2007, Diavolo was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to create a performance to Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Foreign Bodies. A second commission followed, based on John Adams’ Fearful Symmetries, which made its world premiere at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 9.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to work with one of the most contemporary and innovative artist in the U.S.,” said Lisa Fusillo, head of the department of dance, who pursued the grant funding that brought Diavolo to UGA. “The students will not only learn the choreography on these amazing structures used by Jacques Heim, but they will become part of the company for an entire week, in preparation for their performances with the Diavolo dancers on Friday and Saturday.”

In addition to the on-campus education activities, the Performing Arts Center will offer outreach programs for students at Cedar Shoals High School and at local dance studios.

The Diavolo performances are made possible in part by the American Masterpieces Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, a grant from the Southern Arts Federation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts, and grants from the UGA Parents & Families Association, UGA Alumni Association, Dance Repertory Project and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.