THIS IS ME
LETTER FROM THE FRONT LINE by Carol Kaufman Segal
After celebrating its 25th Anniversary at The Soraya in 2017, DIAVOLO Architecture in Motion returned to The Soraya for its fourth time with This is Me: Letters From the Front Lines. This production from Artistic Director Jacque Heim premiered Friday, July 31, at 4 PM on The Soraya Facebook page, The Soraya’s fourth online performance.
This is Me is offering an insight into how military veterans respond to their lives and what it means to be true warriors on the front lines, a lesson for all of us today to fight the invisible enemy that all humanity is currently battling.
The dancers’ performances are outstanding. They navigate through and around huge props that are made to look like apartment buildings and other structures that affected their lives, all the while never losing their gracefulness as they perform flips, jumps, and falls, all the while wearing masks. They are amazing to watch.
The Warriors in the production are as follows: Shannon Corbell, U.S. Air Force, Tyler Grayson, U.S. Army, Lucas Haas, EMT, Mariella Keating, Nurse, Chris Loverro, U.S, Army, Sasan Najibi, MD, and La’Vel Stacy, U.S. Navy. Other performers include a Matt Wagner, Safety Coordinator/ Performer/ Co-Choreographer, Abraham Meisel, Video Archivist/Performer, and the following Performers/Co- Choreographers, Derion Loman, Daniel Jacob Glenn, Evan Turner, Lex Shimko, BethanyRose Boutwell, and Amanda MacLeod.
Jacque Heim is now in the fifth year of the company’s The Veteran Project, creating This is Me to help illustrate words of veterans by interweaving them through DIAVOLO choreography that expresses their thoughts. More than 500 Los Angeles area veterans have participated in the project. Heim said, “The Veterans Project has completely changed my life, changed my mission changed my company”…..“ Even though these men and women do not like to be called heroes, we consider them to be. They sacrificed their lives for a giant cause…their country and its people. Who can do that? I cannot do that. It is beyond courage, and the reason we’re in the land of the free, because all those men and women gave their lives. Beyond thanking them for their service, we have to embrace them as our brothers and sisters as part of our own family. The work and mission of DIAVOLO and this film, This is Me, is about celebrating humanity, Veterans and COVID 19 responders are beautiful humans. That has to be shown.”