CriticalDance Forum

6th July, 2005: Doug Varone and dancers/Kokoro Dance
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  6th July, 2005: Doug Varone and dancers/Kokoro Dance

Performances 06.07

Doug Varone and dancers
"Of the Earth Below",

Kokoro Dance

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:04 am ]
Post subject: 

Although a majority of the strands of the Festival have been a success, truth to tell, a number of the European companies performing have been disappointing.

So tonight I am looking forward to Doug Varone more than somewhat.


I saw his company when he was last in the UK, about 8 years ago and was impressed by the innovatory movement and the variety of the pieces on display.

Author:  Bytom Festival [ Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:32 am ]
Post subject: 

They made dance and they enchanted

Doug Varone and Dancers: "Proverb", "Of the Earth Below", "Rise"

Author: Anna Koczorowska
Translation: Anna Koczorowska

Every choreographer should have some magical skills to breathe life into a dead space, otherwise his art will not touch anyone. Doug Varone and his dancers, even if they did not present any revolutionary attitude to making stage dances, surely have achieved one purpose – they made the stage of the Silesian Dance Theatre dance.

A pinch of emotions and a plenty of very speedy movement were enough. The whole performance was united by music, or, more accurately, by the musicality of the choreographer, who chose pieces ravishing to dance to and accessible, thereby, adding energy and lightness to the pieces. A common feature of all three choreographies, titled „Possession”, „The thing of the world” and „Rise” was the lack of any sets, with a resulting focus on the dancers. The first work distinguished itself by being faithful to the rules of minimalism: dancers wearing white, loose clothes, losing themselves in the physicality of the movement, in its impetus and velocity, seldom looking into each other’s eyes, revealed themselves only in small, minimal, incidental movements: one dancer has a need to find support in another, another has to get rid of excessive vital energy. A different American choreographer, Trisha Brown, creates a world of movement similar to Varone’s – she does it by reducing emotions not to a minimum, but to zero, by arranging the stage as a mathematical abstraction, demonstrating geometrical relations - some symmetrical and others not.

The second piece by Varone, inspired more by an emotional situation than the movment capacity of the dancers, showed the intimacy of a couple, based on dominance and aggresion, eventually destroying both sides of the conflict (one even to death), with neither able to cope. It reminds me much, but not too much, of the performances of Lloyd Newson’s DV8 Physical Theatre, tracing with delight the darker part of human sexuality and the traps, in which we very often fall, when we are fascinated by brutal strength.

Perhaps the most characteristic piece for Doug Varone was the third one, in which all the features, that could be called „Doug Varone’s style” appeared again, as in the first dance, but in, I would say, changed colours (colourful dresses replaced white ones). His style is based very much on quick and short movements and on lightning – speed transitions. Like drops of paint, groups of dancers were spinning and jumping. Feather-light costumes were waving around them, pulsating and vibrating with colours, sometimes moving in one direction, sometimes smashing into particles – solos and duets. A leap flowed naturally to a pirouette, a dancer flitted across the stage to replace another dancer. This is what happens from regularly: we, the viewers, swim in the stream of dance with pleasure, it raptures us with its current and carries us with the rapidity of a mountain river. And although, until the final scene, we do not reach any unknown coast, because the same movement sequences are repeated, we have an impression anyway, that we had experienced a refreshing bath. And we leave the theatre knowing by intuition, that the dance we saw was true dance. And that this choreographer, Doug Varone, has something in common with a magician – he creates an impression that a lot is going on, but without innovation.

Author: Anna Koczorowska
Translation: Anna Koczorowska

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