Loud music paired with a stage full of skateboard ramps in the center of the Sierra Quad left students and passersby watching in awe as the dancers of Diavolo performed a preview of their upcoming show “L’Espace du Temps with Live Orchestra.” Dancers moved up and down the ramps; spun them throughout the stage and used each other as props to further enhance their performance.
“Basically what we do on stage is a live abstract painting with themes. Themes such as human struggle, human condition, danger, survival, fear, chaos, order, deconstruction, reconstruction, destiny, destination, faith and love,” founder and artistic director Jacques Heim said.
As a preview for the upcoming show on Sept. 19, Diavolo, along with several CSUN dance students, performed “Transit Space” to show students what the Valley Performing Arts Center has to offer.
“We really wanted them to engage with the campus, because sometimes the campus and VPAC don’t have enough opportunity to interact,” said Thor Steingraber, Executive Director of VPAC. “This is an opportunity for the students to get acquainted with them and actually dance with them.”
After auditioning, several student dancers were selected to perform with the Diavolo company on stage for the preview.
“By bringing them [students] here I’m really hoping to share with the general student population that performing arts has a much broader range than what you may think of at first,” Steingraber said.
Inspired by the skateboard culture, “Transit Space” is a piece showing the way people should live their lives in a similar fashion to that of skateboarders; with a feeling of freedom. It is also intended to touch on the idea that anything you would need is within yourself.
“I saw them setting up and I thought it was going to be something with skateboards, because it looked like a skateboard ramp, but it’s very interesting to watch,” said Courtney Chelebian, 19, sophomore, public health major. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. They look like they’re doing stunting on stage, but it’s very artistic and I think it’s something very spectacular.”
While walking through the quad, some students gathered to watch the performance, but were puzzled and were unsure of what to make of it.
“It’s like a toned down Cirque du Soleil,” said Aleksey Reshetnikov, 24, sociology major. “Nothing quite like this at CSUN in the middle of the quad, on a Tuesday,” said Aleksey Reshetnikov, 24, sociology major.
On Sept. 19 at 8 p.m., Diavolo will be making the North American premiere of their full piece.
“That is our trilogy performance; we’re doing three full pieces, all very different but have links that kind of work together,” Diavolo dancer Dusty Alvarado said.
The public performance of “Transit Space” brought forth a new audience for Diavolo, one that Heim feels will also be present in their future.
“I believe it [will be] one of the biggest cultural events of the year.”