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Author: Jill Kimball

Diavolo’s death-defying dance on view Jan. 21

The dance company Diavolo, equal parts Cirque du Soleil, brilliant choreography and “architecture in motion,” continues CU Presents’ 2015-16 season with a performance at Macky Auditorium on Thursday, Jan. 21, on the University of Colorado Boulder campus.

Diavolo presents a unique form of entertainment in which dancers interact with large, moving set pieces, from skateboard ramps to large rolling spheres. Watching the troupe duck, dive and jump onto moving furniture is a little bit like observing a group trust exercise set to music, says Diavolo’s Marketing Manager Chisa Yamaguchi, who also dances in the company.

“The structures act like a script that we have to follow,” Yamaguchi says. “They inform the way we move, just like stairs or ramps do in our everyday lives.”

In January’s show, Diavolo will present two recent pieces. In the first, “Fluid Infinities,” the dancers onstage interact with a dome structure punctured with large holes. Accompanied by the trance-like music of Philip Glass and a colorful light show, the futuristic dance invites audiences to contemplate the struggle and promise of life.

“It’s very dream-like and introspective,” Yamaguchi says. “It’s going to speak differently to people depending where they are on their own life journey.”

The second piece, originally created in 2012, is called “Transit Space” and was inspired by California skateboarding culture. The work is set to original music and draws on themes of friendly competition, rebellion, creative expression and lighthearted fun.

“It’s very LA,” says Diavolo dancer Leandro Damasco, Jr., who’s in his fourth season with the company. “It represents the empty spaces in our lives—like skateboarders who go out at will, whenever and wherever they want. They don’t want to be confined, and they won’t be restricted.”

Diavolo claims a unique place in the dance world because its performers are also its choreographers. Artistic Director Jaques Heim’s practice is to create the big picture, then step back and let the dancers themselves work out the rest.

“It’s emotionally and psychologically testing when you’re in the thick of it,” Yamaguchi says of choreographing her own performances. “But knowing that those moves will become your legacy, that other people will later be stepping into roles you’ve personally created … for a lot of dancers that’s really special.”

Diavolo was founded in Los Angeles in 1992 and has been touring internationally for 16 seasons.

The Boulder performance takes place Thursday, Jan. 21 7:30 p.m. A pre-concert lecture and Q&A by Associate Professor Erika Randall of CU-Boulder’s Department of Theatre & Dance will be held at 6:45 p.m. in room 102 at Macky Auditorium.

Tickets for Diavolo start at $15. To purchase tickets, visit the CU Presents box office in person (972 Broadway), call 303-492-8008 during business hours, or order them online. Note: All online and phone orders are subject to a service fee.

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