BIFA: Diavolo’s high-flying ‘VOLO’ show elevates art in Breckenridge |

BIFA: Diavolo’s high-flying ‘VOLO’ show elevates art in Breckenridge

Diavolo — Architecture in Motion will perform their show "VOLO" on Tuesday, Aug. 18, and Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge, part of the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts.
Mara Zaslov / Courtesy of Breckenridge Creative Arts |

If you go

What: “VOLO,” by Diavolo, part of the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, and Wednesday, Aug. 19

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: $25 to $45, depending on seating; $10 for kids

More information: Visit

BIFA schedule

Sunday, Aug. 16

All day — Art installation, Amy Scofield, Illinois Creek Trail

All day — Art installations, Steuart Bremner and Terry Talty, Iowa Hill and Moonstone trails

8 a.m. to 10 p.m. — “The Blue Trees,” an installation by Konstantin Dimopoulos, Blue River Plaza

9:30-10 a.m. — Trail Mix concert with Rajesh Prasad (percussion), Iowa Hill Trail

Noon to 5 p.m. — “Abound,” an installation by Julie Hughes, Old Masonic Hall

2 p.m. — Casting paper workshop with Julie Hughes, Fuqua Livery Stable

2:30 p.m. — “Swoon!,” a performance by Australia’s The Fruits, Riverwalk Center Lawn

2:30-3 p.m. — Trail Mix concert with Steve Haefner (trumpet) and Tim McFadden (trumpet), Illinois Creek Trail

4 p.m. — “Swoon!,” a performance by Australia’s The Fruits, Riverwalk Center Lawn

4-4:30 p.m. — Trail Mix concert with Michael Ward-Bergeman, Miika Gregg (violin) and Hannah Yim (violin), Moonstone Trail

5:30 p.m. — “Swoon!,” a performance by Australia’s The Fruits, Riverwalk Center Lawn

6 p.m. — Boureas concert, Festival Square

6:30 p.m. — Preshow discussion: ETHEL’s “Documerica,” Riverwalk Center

7:30 p.m. — ETHEL’s “Documerica,” Riverwalk Center

7:30 p.m. — Holly Lovell concert, Festival Square

Monday, Aug. 17

6 p.m. — Blackdog concert, Festival Square

7:30 p.m. — Andy Sydow concert, Festival Square

For more details on locations and a full schedule of events for the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, visit

Those who know Diavolo — Architecture in Motion know how this performance company of dancers, gymnasts, rock climbers and acrobats works to integrate graceful movement on stage with intentional defiance of gravity.

“There’s always going to be a feeling of danger with Diavolo, but it’s always controlled chaos,” said Shauna Alvarez, rehearsal director for Diavolo.

To know Diavolo is to now know “VOLO,” the show that is coming to the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge as a part of the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts. The “VOLO” shows will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, and Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Diavolo founder and artistic director Jacques Heim directs all of the Diavolo pieces in collaboration with the dancers and creative team. While Diavolo dance concerts are composed of two, 30- to 35-minute pieces, with large performance structures, Heim developed “VOLO” to showcase shorter pieces with smaller structures for smaller theaters or unconventional spaces.

“It will be a lot of vignettes, around six minutes; the longest piece is 10 minutes,” Alvarez said. “It’s a bunch of duets that are coupled with group pieces, so you’ll get a taste of everything Diavolo has to offer.”

“VOLO” is meant to give viewers more of a backstage look into the production as a whole, so that the audience feels closer to the performers and the performers feel more connected to the audience.

“From the really aggressive, athletic movement, to the really fluid, balletic movement, there will be something for everyone,” Alvarez said. “It will have something that speaks to everyone’s inner artist; anybody who loves the arts will take something away from this show that they like or that is inspiring to them.”

Show-goers can expect to walk into the theater with the stage curtain already drawn open. They will see the dancers actually warming up, with most of the smaller structures already on stage, intentionally showing the audience a more behind-the-scenes perspective of the workings of Diavolo.

“It gives the audience an experience like they are at a technical rehearsal, but at the same time, they are also watching a dance concert,” Heim said.

Before Diavolo shows, the performers put their hands together in the center of the stage to say a few things and acknowledge each other.

“Usually, that’s behind the curtain,” Heim said, “but in ‘VOLO,’ the audience gets to see this ritual.”

Some of the backstage communication in “VOLO” is miked for the audience to hear, while they watch mistakes happen and real, live theater unfold.

“Audiences can sometimes forget that real theater is not totally polished,” Heim said.

Preview the preparation

Some of the pieces in “VOLO” have been around since Diavolo was started in 1992 but have been revisited and revamped, integrating subtle changes in some and big changes in others, Alvarez explained.

When new repertoires are introduced — as with this current tour season of “VOLO” — the company rehearses all summer long, eight hours a day, six days a week.

For the Breckenridge show on Tuesday, Aug. 18, the performers have to prepare for another on-stage variable: performing at high altitude.

“We do intense interval training, besides the work, to prep for things like this,” Alvarez said. “We also just do the work multiple times throughout the day, so it’s not such a big shock when we are at elevation and only have to do it one time.”

Heim said for Colorado shows, they usually have an oxygen tank at each end of backstage for the performers to use between their acts.

“It’s funny because whenever we go to Colorado, it’s either at the beginning of our tour or it’s after a long break,” Alvarez said. “And you know, you can only prepare so much.”

For the upcoming show in Breckenridge, she said the audience could definitely look forward to watching the introduction and finale of the show, with a lot of quality entertainment between.

“Our two strongest pieces are definitely the beginning and the end,” she said. “Jacques loves to give a good appetizer and an awesome dessert, so we’ve been revamping both of those, and I think that they are both very, very powerful.”

Diavolo is coming up on its 25th anniversary in 2017, and Alvarez said the next couple of years are going to be exciting for the performance company.

Presented by Breckenridge Creative Arts, the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts is a celebration of adventure, play and creativity that runs Friday, Aug. 14, through Sunday, Aug. 23. Find more information and a full schedule at, or search “BIFA” at

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