At one point, the woman sitting next to me couldn’t resist saying out loud, “This is insane!” in between her running barrage of “No way!” Which pretty much sums up Diavolo’s performance: choreographed risk that will explode your stereotypes of dance. The company’s tagline of “Architecture in motion” might not be poetry, but it’s an exact description of the spectacular, custom-designed, transforming sets and muscular but precise choreography that brought gasps from the audience on opening night.

In the first segment, Fluid Infinities, a giant perforated half dome (designed with the help of local puppeteer Michael Curry) rotated, shifted, and lit up like some alien space ship, with the 10-member dance company exploring and manipulating it in gold lame body suits like—to continue our metaphor—some glammed up Star Trek crew.

Then in the second act, Diavolo’s seminal 1999 work, Trajectoire, the company raced and danced across the deck of a 17-foot-long boat, rocking it like a seesaw so that at times it was almost perpendicular to the stage, launching dancers off the top to swan dive into the arms of those below (and literally give me goose bumps). Because of the danger, every move of every dancer had to be timed as precisely as a watch. Dancers rolled under the barrel during its upswing or ran from off stage to leap onto the low end of the barrel, only to slide down it as it seesawed and race off the other side in ever more complicated choreography.

Diavolo
Presented by White Bird
Newmark Theatre
Oct 9–11

Michael Clark Company
Newmark Theatre
Oct 16–18

Add to this exceptional lighting design and the soundtrack of Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 3 for Fluid Infinities and an original score for Trajectoire, and you have a show that’s downright cinematic (it’s no wonder that the company comes from LA—I’m not sure any other city could create this polished of an effect). In other words, this show is more jaw dropping than Cirque du Soleil with far cooler design than anything I’ve seen all week at Design Week (this show really should’ve been the festival’s centerpiece). Do not miss it.

White Bird follows up Diavolo with British dance’s true iconoclast, choreographer Michael Clark, with a show set to the music of David Bowie, which premiered at the Venice Biennial in 2009.

Here are a couple photos followed by a video to tease your interest:

Filed under
Show Comments