THE VETERANS PROJECT
The MISSION of The Veterans Project is to utilize DIAVOLO's unique style of movement as a tool to help restore veterans' physical, mental, and emotional strengths through workshops and public performances in communities all around the country.
S.O.S. Diavolo's Veterans Program
In service to our current U.S. military veterans, the DIAVOLO Veterans Project offers community-based movement arts workshops and public performances to help veterans restore their personal strengths and to give them the opportunity to convey personal expression about their service.
With the incredible vision and generous support of program co-founder, Jennifer Cheng and the Cheng Family Foundation, the Veterans Project was launched in 2016. Initially involving nine veterans and a few Diavolo dancers in a workshop at the company’s downtown Los Angeles studio, the Veterans Project has since then grown to include over 500 veterans and reached more than 22 thousand audience members in several cities across the United States.
The program is one of 26 organizations across the U.S. awarded a Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant, part of the Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network
There are many similarities between the work of Diavolo and what service members experience in the military, and it has emerged that the philosophy and the movement of Diavolo are healing for the veterans.The camaraderie, the experience of sharing a mission, the responsibility to each other in a group, and the sense of connection to something bigger than oneself, are common to both and are at the foundation of the program.
The Veterans Project workshops are physically intense and at times dangerous, by design. When put in a state of survival, in the same way the men and women of the armed forces experience it during their service, people come together, with urgency and feeling stronger than ever.
Most civilians have little knowledge of the courage, the sacrifice and the resilience inherent to the military experience ; by involving both veterans and civilians in the workshops, we create a bridge between them, and that bridge of understanding is further extended to the civilian community at large when the work of the Veterans Project is performed in public.
“When we create with the veterans we are not trying to make an art piece, but we are using art for our veterans to find peace” Jacques Heim, Diavolo Artistic Director