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New Orleans Ballet Association presents
The Extreme Dance of

“Thrilling Spectacle…fiendishly ingenious.” – Dallas Morning News

March 20, 2009 -With daredevil stunts and gravity-defying choreography, Los Angeles-based dance company Diavolo returns to New Orleans on May 9 to close New Orleans Ballet Association’s 39th season. The one-night-only performance will be at 8pm at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts.

Diavolo redefines dance as an extreme sport. Led by Paris-born director Jacques Heim, who choreographed Cirque de Soleil’s Las Vegas show Ka, this ensemble of dancers, gymnasts, rock climbers and actors performs on giant oversized architectural structures that provide the playground for risky movement and fearless acrobatics. Whether it’s flying off of a 15-foot staircase or spinning through an 18-foot steel wheel, the dancers of Diavolo leap, fly, and twirl to create their ingenious, provocative, and fun work.

The evening’s program includes four popular works by Diavolo. Foreign Bodies puts the dancers against three mobile pyramids that are constantly manipulated into various configurations to convey the epic journey of the evolution of mankind and abstractions of strangers in a strange land. Tete En L’Air, which literally translates into “head in the sky,” is inspired by surrealist French filmmaker Jacque Tati and paints the journey of isolation faced by citizens in the modern world. The third piece, Caged, features the dancers with a giant cage-like structure to explore the themes of confinement, pressure, freedom, escape and entrapment. The evening’s finale is the company’s signature work, Trajectoire, which calls on the idea of ‘sink or swim,’ and is set on an enormous Twenty-First Century Galleon upon which the dancers swing, slide, tumble and dance as the boat rocks and tips, sometimes at a 90-degree angle. A 15 minute question and answer session with the company will immediately follow the performance.

In addition to directing Diavolo, Heim is in constant demand to choreograph and direct live events for corporate clients such as Amgen, General Motors and Wells Fargo. He is currently working on Cirque du Soleil’s yet-to-be-named Dubai project; set to open in 2011.

Tickets for the performance range from $30 to $80. Students and seniors (65 and older) receive a $7 discount off the regular ticket prices. Group discounts also are available. For tickets or information, call the New Orleans Ballet Association Box Office at (504) 522-0996. Tickets may be purchased online through, or via Ticketmaster at (504) 522-5555 or

In addition to the main stage performance, Diavolo will also conduct a half-week residency in New Orleans, including two master classes and a student performance. On Friday, May 8 at 10:30 am, the company will perform for local students at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of Performing Arts. That evening, the company will conduct a master class, open to the community, from 6-7:30 pm at Tulane University’s McWilliams Hall. For more information about residency opportunities call (504) 522-0996 x. 203 or email

The Diavolo performance is sponsored by Schlumberger Oilfield Services.

Diavolo Company History
Diavolo company members are dancers, gymnasts, actors, athletes…and always teammates. Under the guidance of artistic director Jacques Heim, they collaboratively develop work on oversized surrealistic sets and structures. Everyday items…doors, chairs, stairways, provide the backdrop for dramatic movement – leaping, flying, twirling – to create metaphors for the challenge of relation-ships, the absurdities of life and the struggle to maintain our humanity in the shadow of a technological world. Diavolo was founded in Los Angeles in 1992, by Artistic Director Jacques Heim. In 1993, the company was nominated for two Lester Horton awards in Los Angeles, and in 1995, Diavolo made its European debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they were named “Best of the Fest” by the London Independent and Critic’s Choice by The Guardian. Also in 1995, the company received three Lester Horton awards for the work Tete en L’Air. Since then, the company has been nominated several times for numerous awards, including four 2001 Lester Horton Awards and two 2003 Lester Horton Awards and they were honored to perform live at the 10th annual American Choreography Awards in 2004. In 1998, the company opened the performance series at the new Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles.

In 1999 Diavolo’s first full-evening length work was created: Catapult which also coincided with Diavolo’s first full North American tour. During the summer of 2001, Diavolo invited Jelon Viera, artistic director of DanceBrazil and the Capoeria Foundation, to Los Angeles to conduct an intensive Capoeria workshop with the company. In spring 2002, Diavolo created a second smaller company to perform in a cabaret-style show, which ran for eight weeks at the New Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. The commercial arm of the company, Diavolo Creative Productions, has also created unique performance events for such corporate clients as Wells Fargo Bank, Honda, Sebastian Inc. and General Motors. Due to the unusual and innovative way that Diavolo works with architectural structures, the creative team at Cirque du Soleil was inspired to hire Jacques Heim to choreograph a show in Las Vegas, entitled “Ka”, which opened in February of 2005 and is still running. In 2007, Diavolo was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to create a performance to music director Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Foreign Bodies”. The LA Times declared its premiere at The Hollywood Bowl “one of those rare events that define the art of this city when the levels of vision and support are equally exceptional.” The 2008-09 season marks Diavolo’s tenth U.S. tour. In addition, Diavolo has performed internationally in Scotland, Japan, Chile, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Brazil and Italy.

Jacques Heim, Artistic Director
Artistic Director Jacques Heim was born in Paris. He earned a BFA in Theatre, Dance and Film from Middlebury College, and then was awarded a Certificate for Analysis and Criticism of Dance from the University of Surrey in England. Heim moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and attended California Institute for the Arts, receiving an MFA in Choreography. In 1992, Heim founded Diavolo Dance Theater. Inspired by the unusual and innovative way that Heim works with architectural structures in Diavolo, the creative team at Cirque du Soleil commissioned Jacques Heim to choreograph “Ka”, their newest permanent (and still-running) show in Las Vegas which opened in February of 2005. Heim is currently working on Cirque’s as yet unnamed Dubai project, set to open in 2011. His most recent assignment outside of Diavolo is the innovative choreography for the production of “The Stones” at the Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles.

Mr. Heim is in constant demand to choreograph and direct live events for corporate clients such as Amgen, General Motors, Sunrider, Honda, and Wells Fargo. Mr. Heim was recently named the Artistic Director for the 2005 Taurus World Stunt Awards, and was nominated for the CalArts/Alpert Awards-in-the-Arts for Dance in both 2000 and 1996. In 1999, Heim received a James Irvine Foundation Fellowship in choreography, and a Fellowship from the Brody Arts Fund. In 1998 and 1999 Heim was nominated for a Lester Horton award for Best Choreography. He has been named one of the “Faces to Watch in the Arts” by the LA Times and one of the “100 Coolest People in LA” by Buzz Magazine. Heim has taught Intensive Movement for Actors at UCLA, and Cal State LA. Other honors include the 1992 Martha Hill Choreography Award from the American Dance Festival and the 1992 Special Prize of the Jury at the 6th Saitama International Dance Festival in Saitama, Japan.

NOBA is the Central Gulf region’s premiere presenting and service organization dedicated solely to the art of dance. NOBA’s dynamic Main Stage season annually features a diverse array of world-class companies and artists. Each year NOBA provides concerts, classes, workshops and lectures to more than 25,000 area dance enthusiasts of all ages. In addition, NOBA’s nationally recognized award-winning education programs provide the youth of our community access to quality arts programs with 2,500 free dance classes and workshops annually at ten sites throughout the Greater New Orleans area. For more information on the upcoming season or to subscribe, call NOBA at 504-522-0996, Ext. 201 or visit

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which believes that a great nation deserves great art; a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans (ACNO); a Community Arts Grant made possible through the City of New Orleans as administered by ACNO; a grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the NEA.