jacques heim

Dance review: DIAVOLO goes to work

The LA-based movement theater starts its flashy new show in the office, but it doesn't stay there long

DIAVOLO has been busy since it last visited Portland. (For one, they capitalized their name and attached their slogan, “Architecture in Motion,” to it.) “Losing One’s Self Temporarily,” or “L.O.S.T.,” is an all-new show, and Friday night was the world premiere of its second act, “Passengers,” another coup for dance presenters White Bird.

Live-wire artistic director Jacques Heim calls the show “An abstract study of our transient reality as we traverse through our daily lives and our daily work,” and the founders of White Bird call Heim “our favorite crazy Frenchman,” a title Heim seemed to relish as he took the stage for one of his trademark introductory speeches (and a celebratory white feather boa).

DIAVOLO opened White Bird's new season with "L.O.S.T." Friday night/Daniel MacSween, courtesy of White Bird

DIAVOLO opened White Bird’s new season with “L.O.S.T.” Friday night/Daniel MacSween, courtesy of White Bird

He has the ability to become a sort of highbrow hype-man for his own show, crackling with both joy and curiosity about what his troupe is about to do. It’s rare to see directors speak so freely about their own work before the show, and rarer still for them to do it with such unbridled humor and glee. He seemed as enamored with the conceptual framework of the show as he was with the exciting new contraptions the company has built. Watching him let his enthusiasm roam freely from intellectual to athletic challenges was the best introduction the show could have had, as it gave the audience a license to enjoy the same freedom.

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