Los Angeles Dance Preview: L’ESPACE DU TEMPS (DIAVOLO at Valley Performing Arts Center)

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by Tony Frankel on September 12, 2015

in Theater-Los Angeles


8F07DD33-2F85-4FCC-A4B2-7558E522BB2BIn DIAVOLO’s dance/text hybrid piece Transit Space, author Steve Connell writes, “The only way to get there is to go.” The same can be said for what is arguably the most exciting event of the new season: The U.S. premiere of DIAVOLO’s L’Espace du Temps, three individual pieces originally commissioned by the LA Phil for the Hollywood Bowl. It looks like the gorgeous Valley Performing Arts Center–thanks to the vision of its new Executive Director Thor Steingraber–has finally come into its own as a location for prestigious dance and music performances to rival Segerstrom Center and The Music Center. The thrilling triptych which plays Sep. 19 and 20, 2015, is Foreign Bodies (2007) (set to the music of Esa-Pekka Salonen), Fearful Symmetries (2010) (set to the music of John Adams), and Fluid Infinities (2013) (set to the music of Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 3).

Equally amazing is that in a world of mostly taped music for dance, this American premiere of L’Espace du Temps will be performed by a live orchestra, conducted by a local treasure in the music world: Christopher Rountree, who I have admired for MZaslove38many years, especially as the director of wild Up, Los Angeles’s very own modern music collective. Rountree will also be overseeing a reduction of the Salonen score with the maestro’s approval—now, Foreign Bodies can be played in VPAC’s orchestra pit utilizing the instrumentalists who play in the other two pieces.

Jacques Heim, Artistic Director of DIAVOLO (the official name being DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion) referred to L’Espace du Temps in his own inimitable way: “Giant! Monumental! Fantastic! Outrageous! This is the biggest piece to date for us. All three pieces are extremely intense not only musically but also structurally. Creating the trilogy has been an incredible challenge to the company, not only artistically but physically, pushing me to create pieces with a completely differently process.” To know more about Heim’s process, see Stage and Cinema’s interview with the man who brilliantly fuses movement and architecture.


For those unfamiliar with L.A.’s amazing dance company, let me quote their press release: “DIAVOLO performs a distinct style of architecture in motion that uses abstract and recognized structures to explore the relationship between our environment and the fragility of the human body. DIAVOLO’s dance is a fusion of different movement vocabularies such as everyday movement, ballet, contemporary, gymnastics, martial arts, and hip-hop. There is no narrative, but strong themes pervade the work such as human struggle, fear, danger, survival, chaos, order, deconstruction, reconstruction, destiny, destination, faith, and love.”


Stage and Cinema’s review of the Fluid Infinities premiere at the Hollywood Bowl said, “Sometimes, dance performances are entertaining, but only for the spectator who understands the storyline behind the dancing. Other times, the performances are less about dance and more about the esoteric, self-righteous fulfillment of the dancer being able to perform. Where is the line drawn between these forms and how does the viewer know when a dance performance is good? With the collaborative work from DIAVOLO Dance Theater, the movement speaks for itself. There is no need to interpret what is going on. You are not forced to watch the virtuosity of the dancer. You simply watch what unfolds and are stunned.”


photos by Kenneth Mucke, Mara Zaslove and Ammerpohl


Diavolo_Foreign_Credit_Ammerpohl2L’Espace du Temps
DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion
Valley Performing Arts Center
and The Ford Signature Series
18111 Nordhoff St in Northridge
Saturday, September 19 at 8
Sunday, September 20 at 3
for tickets, call 818.677.3000
or visit VPAC
or more info, visit DIAVOLO

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