Diavolo, seen here in "Voyage," thrills when its dancers launch themselves into the air.
Diavolo’s Artistic Director Jacque Heim has trademarked his acrobatic ensemble as architecture in motion. But I like to think of Diavolo as architecture in emotion. Yes, his troupe of 14 daring dancers plays on large-scale moving structures that rock, roll and rotate. And yes, it takes the sturdy balance and nerves to stay sure-footed while swinging in and out of a giant hamster wheel or a hanging upside down in a massive moving orb.
But what Heim is missing in the description is the humanity of the troupe, which performs works that show Diavolo as seeker – a body that creates visual candy to reveal our universal desire to strive for more.
The company, which was a finalist in the hit NBC series “America’s Got Talent,” made a stop at Proctors on Wednesday night. In two works, “Voyage” and “Trajectoire,” the company demonstrated its seamless aesthetic. Watching its dancers – or athletes – move was like watching the world while immersed under water. Every move is fluid, organic and effortless.
Even when they were launching themselves into the air, those that catch them below never appeared burdened by the weight. When they hoisted themselves onto a structure that is as tall as they, they did it in one gliding motion. They are gorgeous, strong and amazing.
That perfection can be appreciated on its own. But what makes Diavolo special was its expression of our vulnerabilities, our need for love, for dreaming, for comfort. “Voyage” encapsulated that as a woman, danced by Majella Bess Loughran, took a journey only to wind back at home with the one she loved as danced by Christopher Carvalho.
Of course, her travels were the fabric of the work. She was swept away and up in objects that looked like the moon, the pyramids and finally a wheel that sucked her in and eventually poured her out. Throughout, she saw Carvalho everywhere. Though he was her constant support, she continued to journey beyond him until her final reach was for a familiar door. Carvalho waited on the other side.
Unlike “Voyage,” “Trajectoire” did not have a narrative. It simply hypnotized as dancers surged atop and under what appeared to be a ship in a storm. Back and forth it rolled, with dancers slipping off between the rails, sliding along the boards and swan diving off the deck.
The dance captured the imagination with endless interactions with the continually moving structure, which these mighty acrobats also kept under control. Even more impressive was their ability to maintain their balance and poise, which was supposed to be a metaphor for human resilience.
It didn’t matter that “Trajectoire” did not read as such because Diavolo was splendid. I do hope to see them again soon.