As darkness begins to settle across Red Rock Country on Nov. 1 and 2, David Vincent Mills’ funky-jazz band DiVoM (a play on his initials) will take to the stage along Calle Independencia at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, decked out in sugar-skull makeup and steam-punk attire. As the four-piece plays its original music – a progressive meld of jazz, funk and Latin – fire spinners will mesmerize the audience with fire dancing and fire breathing. A little belly dancing will be thrown in for good measure. It’s all part of Tlaquepaque’s Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebration. The troupe performs at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. both nights; fire processions and busking musicians will be found throughout the village from 5 to 8 p.m.
The sensory experience originated in May when David invited the fire spinners to perform at DiVoM’s CD release party at the Martini Bar. The collaboration was so well received that the troupe worked on choreographing the fire dancing with the music and performed several times at the Hoppy Grape Lounge and the Martini Bar this summer. “It’s stimulating to the eyes and ears,” says David, who can be found performing solo piano music wearing his signature porkpie hat every Monday evening at Reds Restaurant. “You won’t know where the fire ends and the music begins.”
David jokingly refers to himself as the troupe’s “chief clown,” but he’s aspired to merge various art forms since he worked as a music teacher in Southern California. (David and his wife relocated to Sedona seven years ago; DiVoM has been performing for three years.) Eventually, he would like to incorporate stilt walkers and aerialists for the ultimate Cirque du Soleil type of performance. The troupe plans to take its show on the road with tentative dates in California and Colorado. “Music and art are snapshots of a moment in time, be it artistically or politically,” David says. “The beauty of it is that art – and society – are always evolving and changing.”– Erika Ayn Finch