Acrobatics and other forms of high art

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Acrobatics and other forms of high art


Their circus show includes dancers, gymnasts, actors and athletes together on stage to flesh out abstract themes and symbolic images that are ripe with philosophical meaning. Their sets are surreal, using doors, stairs, chairs and ladders to create absurd images of human life.
Just don’t confuse them with Cirque du Soleil.
Diavolo is not the same thing as the famous French-Canadian circus troupe, although the founder and artistic director for the Los Angeles-based troup, Jacques Heim, once choreographed a show for Cirque du Soleil. The Canadian troupe has not yet come to Korea (Korean promoters aren’t willing to swing the enormous down payment), but Diavolo Dance Theater will be performing next Wednesday through Sunday at the Seongnam Arts Center.
Established in 1992 by Mr. Heim, the circus troupe has staged large-scale, dynamic works of dance, acrobatics and assorted human movement to enthusiastic reviewers in the United States and Europe. Diavolo’s show is intense and active, a dark but rich visual feast.
“I have developed a method of working over the years. I decide on an idea for the set, which is selected based on its role in our lives, its architectural qualities as landscape and as an object, its geometric shape, its mechanical functionality,” Mr. Heim said. “There is something striking about it that compels exploration, a discovery of the myriad ways in which it influences our behavior.”
On stage, performers stretch, spin, fly and shake their bodies in the air.
Mr. Heim said the choreographic process is truly collaborative, with the sculptor or set designer and the performers all contributing their own input. “At first we go through a period of improvisation, during which I ask each of the performers to live with the set, to see what their body is telling them, find out what kinds of movement are possible, individually and with one another,” he said.
After this period of initial improvisation, he shapes and edits the piece around the individuality of the performers and their contributions. “Only at this point do we establish what the piece is about,” he added.
Diavolo performances only involve about 10 people. Each of their repertoire’s 12 acts lasts 75 minutes. Reviewers in Los Angeles and for the shows in Edinburgh, Scotland have been blown away. The show was selected as the best performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1995 and received the critic’s award from the British newspaper The Guardian.
The ticket price ranges from 40,000 won ($40) to 80,000 won. For more information, call (031) 729-5615~9. For tickets, call Ticketlink at 1588-7890.

by Choi Sun-young

Belgian circus troupe swings into Seoul

Feria Musiaca, the Belgium-based theater troupe, is more than just a circus. It incorporates dance, drama and music into a visual feast that has stunned European audiences.
The group is in Korea to show off its performance piece, “The Vertigo of Butterfly,” which opens today and runs through Nov. 13 at the Yong Theater, the main auditorium in the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan district, central Seoul.
Feria Musiaca was originally formed by two men: acrobat Pilippe De Coen and composer Benoit Louis. “The Vertigo of Butterfly,” or “Le Vertige du Papillon,” is the troupe’s third original creation, and features choreography by Fatou Traore. The theater company’s previous works include “Dangerous Liaisons” in 1997 and “Calcinculo” in 2000. “Butterfly” premiered last year.
The show features seven acrobats who dance, juggle, stunt-fly and walk on a tight rope to tunes played by four musicians. The seven are graduates of a noted Brussels circus school.
The stage was designed to allow acrobats to dance and create a seemingly endless variety of moves on the floor and in the air. In the air, swings glide back and forth while on the ground, the stage moves, turning into spring boards, vertical bars and secret passages.
The performance received positive reviews in Europe.
“The audience was captivated by the jazz music and the fantasy flows between the actors and musicians,” one reviewer wrote.

by Limb Jae-eun

The performance starts at 8 p.m. on weekdays and 4 p.m. on weekends. There is no performance on Monday. The ticket price is 30,000 won ($29) to 90,000 won. For information, visit
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