A&E: Dance Company Blurs Lines Between Art and Athleticism

Caption: “America’s Got Talent” finalist Diavolo brings its new show to the Arsht Center in Miami on Oct. 12. Credit: Sharon Bradford.

Seen by over 95 million viewers on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” the daredevils of Los Angeles-based dance company Diavolo are coming to the Arsht Center in Miami on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Led by artistic director Jacques Heim, the 12 performers blur the lines between art and athleticism while soaring beyond the grasps of gravity. 

For 26-year-old Daniel Jacob Glenn, the inventive performances explore the relationship between the human body and its surrounding architectural environment.
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“I would honestly describe it as an abstract art piece coming to life on stage. We get these structures and environments that we have to immerse ourselves in. The best part is it isn’t always about getting the moves just right, as much as it is how you’re affected by the structures. I also like the teamwork aspect.”

For this tour, the company is showcasing two highly conceptual, yet exciting works:

Voyage” is the company’s newest adventure, inspired by travels in space and the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. A young woman dreams of traveling distances only astronauts can cover, escaping from the ordinary world into a surreal landscape of infinite possibilities. Gravity-defying bodies join her on the journey in a universe that is alive with kinetic energy, fantastical whimsy and surprising transformation. 

Trajectoire,” featuring an enormous rocking “ship” on the stage, takes the audience on a visceral and emotional journey through the ebb and flow of the human experience. As the performers struggle to find their balance on a voyage of destiny and destination, the work displays the transcendence of the human soul against all odds.

Glenn who studied contemporary dance and toured with world-renowned companies before winning his spot in Diavolo appreciates the departure from the usual choreography.

“(Diavolo) has really shaped my approach and given me a more realistic perspective to my movement. It’s allowed me to excel,” he explained. “With all those set pieces and structures, it’s a nice balance from technical dance  (and) allows me to incorporate a theatrical aspect, as well.”

He added about “Trajectoire,” “That boat-like structure takes you on its own journey. The ability to manage change becomes very important in this company. It could be different every time you do the same move. You must always be constantly aware of everything going on around you.”     

Given the unpredictability of the stunts and the toll their acrobatic acts can take on the body, injuries are not uncommon for the performers, Glenn admitted.   

“Yeah, we get injured sometimes,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s part of the learning experience and part of the reality of what Diavolo is. If you do make a mistake and it causes you to get hurt, that becomes a learning experience…but, honestly (being a part of Diavolo) is breathtaking for us as performers, also."f    

Diavolo, Architecture in Motion, performs at the Arsht Center in Miami on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30 at ArshtCenter.org.