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30 Years After the Northridge Earthquake

featuring Thana Alexa and Antonio Sanchez

Wed Jan 17 | 8PM
Fri Jan 19 | 8PM

The Soraya in Northridge, CA

Diavolo Photo Illustration v4.jpg



Gravity betrays you and the ground beneath your feet is no longer reliable. Then what happens next? That’s the inspiration for Existencia, a new piece created by Diavolo. Produced and commissioned by The Soraya, this special event brings to bear the company’s athleticism and unique brand of spectacle, as well as its humanity and grace. Joining the dancers onstage are drummer Antonio Sánchez and vocalist Thana Alexa. The jazz duo creates a new score and soundscape in collaboration with Diavolo, also inspired by the personal impacts of earthquakes on their families in Mexico City and Croatia.

In January, 1994, California State University Northridge experienced what has been called the worst natural disaster ever to hit a university campus in the United States. What followed next was an extraordinary act of perseverance. Within two weeks, classes resumed in trailers and outdoor locations. Months later, degrees were conferred, and a little more than a decade later, the campus was restored, an even better version than it was prior to the earthquake.

In 1994, a fledgling dance company, Diavolo, had set up shop in Northridge, established by a recent CalArts graduate, Jacques Heim. The company was inspired to meet the moment with daring and innovative works that celebrate the human spirit. In 2011, when The Soraya’s doors first opened, it would become the cultural heart of the vast region, and Diavolo would find a regular home there.

In 2023, Diavolo and The Soraya join forces again for the world premiere of Existencia. This new work is a reflection on how a community resets and evolves in the face of disaster. Far more than the destruction is the resilience, humility, and selflessness born from facing the unknown and wrestling with mortality.

Commissioned By
The Soraya at California State University Northridge

See the World Premiere Event

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