A magical, charming show of dance and acrobatics which will delight children and adults alike. In Light of Life by Diabolo Dance Theatre sparkling diabolos are spots of light, blue, red and white whizzing, whirling between the dancers in changing patterns you never thought possible. It all looks easy despite the danger and fragility of the artforms, for both diabolos and acrobats.
Watch out... a craze for diabolos might ensue.
The lithe, female dancers appear in a variety of striking costumes from figure-hugging to long, floating balletic dresses, there are males with torsos covered in impressive (costume) tattoos and there’s a comedy act with a man in top hat and great coat. The changing video backdrop adds atmosphere from starry night skies to a scary scene with jagged mountains and volcano.
Constantly different dance sequences are accompanied by a meld of Western and Chinese-influenced music. Block-buster-style is followed by oriental bamboo flute, and a nice nod to the show’s appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, the first piece has a flavour of Highland reels. For contrast, dramatic displays of drumming are show-stoppers.
The highlight of the show, however, are the duo of acrobats, the very tall Sun Cheng-Hsueh and the tiny Hsia Ling. When Sun lifts Hsia high then lets her twist and wrap around his body as she descends only to be lifted again at a different angle, their skill is heart-stopping. No surprise to learn that they have their own company 0471 Acro Physical Theatre, which recently performed at the Avignon Festival.
All the dancers are superb but there is a moving, lyrical solo by Yi Jiun Lin in a long white tutu. If I had been a small child I think this would definitely have been a life-changing moment and made me want to be a dancer or acrobat or both. The six and eight year olds near me in the audience were rapt. Watch out, parents or grandparents, a craze for diabolos might ensue.
The Director, Liu Le-Chun says he wants to spread joy through the world. I’m sure with this show he will.