Dallas — The tricky thing about moving sets is how easily they can overpower dance. Diavolo: Architecture in Motion’s two works on Friday night’s program at Dallas City Performance Hall, presented by TITAS, skirted the line in Fluid Infinities and made better headway in Transit Space.
The term “architecture in motion” could not be more fitting. In Fluid Infinities a giant dome fills the space, rotating and later tilting on its axis. Holes large and small fill the interior: moon craters, bee honeycombs, a shifting brain—it’s your guess.
In Transit Space, dancers maneuver skateboard ramps, turn them sideways, upend them, spin them.
To the crackling sound of a spacecraft taking off in Fluid Infinities, dancers in shiny champagne-colored body suits work their way out of a fiberglass tube to land safely on the ground. They inch closer to the dome, hesitant and curious. One man gets too close and finds himself flattened on the surface, a human magnet. Others experience the same thing, and before we know it, the man has been sucked inside, legs and head last.
And so it goes, curious space travelers sucked in, discovering the interior and grabbing hold of whatever can support them, dangling from on high, clambering for safety. The light shifts from speckled moonlight to bright shiny interiors, while the music—vaguely Philip Glass-esque, gives the work a mysterious polish.
Transit Space remains in the here and now, with youths (only the very young could manage so much derring-do) out for a lark and eager to outdo each other. In jeans and T-shirts, they bring out their skateboards, but it’s their bodies and not the boards that propel them onto the ramps. Naturally, the music is loud, the background industrial-bare, and the intensity never flagging.
They run up the ramps, slide down, tumble, stand at the top surveying the space below as though its only it’s a very short distant down, flip-flop, break-dance, cartwheel, and slide down headfirst. They fight over a map, yell at each other, make comments like “eleven million people are on their cellphones and no one is talking.” At one point, a man declares: “I like pain—it proves I am not dead.”