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 Post subject: Re: Doug Varone
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 7:46 am 
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A review from Theodore Bale in the Boston Herald: Varone's complex choreography packs punch
Quote:
There's more information in one minute of dance by Doug Varone than most choreographers manage to squeeze into far lengthier works. Ideas come at lightning speed to this gifted artist, and they are deeply satisfying both as formal concepts and as personal narratives.


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 Post subject: Re: Doug Varone
PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:57 am 
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A review from Marcia Siegel in the Boston Phoenix:
Edge walking - Doug Varone at the Majestic
Quote:
Doug Varone seems balanced on a choreographic edge between the musicality and humanism of modern dance and the wariness of expressive devices that fueled postmodern dance.


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 Post subject: Re: Doug Varone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:42 am 
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'Deconstructing English,' Online and Onstage
By Lisa Traiger
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, October 29, 2004; Page WE22
Quote:
"I LOVE SHARING my process with anyone who is interested," choreographer Doug Varone wrote in an online journal, or blog, back in August as he embarked on a first for himself as a dancemaker. Known for his ability to reveal the inner landscapes of the human heart through the most common of everyday gestures, Varone is also exposing his own ups and downs as a choreographer. Friday's world premiere, "Deconstructing English," commissioned by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for Doug Varone and Dancers, is the subject of an intimate weekly blog that lays bare Varone's creative process -- its highs and lows, and his roundabout way of getting from the seed of an idea to the finished product.
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Varone's Bach Exercises
'Deconstructing English' Puts Emotional Pieces Together

By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 1, 2004; Page C05
Quote:
From its title, "Deconstructing English," a work by Doug Varone that premiered over the weekend at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, sounds awfully academic, like some dusty treatise out of the field of literary criticism. Deconstruction as an artistic pursuit is stuffily postmodern, the ultimate expression of navel-gazing. Its endless peeling away of layers to get at a hidden meaning renders any such meaning meaningless through the effort to unearth it.
But Varone's deconstruction is a stylish, often witty and ultimately revealing endeavor. One of the most interesting modern dance choreographers, Varone approaches the profundities of life in a clear and distinct way. Discipline and truthfulness govern his work.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:57 am 
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Location: Estonia
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Musicians in Motion
by SYLVIANE GOLD for the New York Times

With those three musicians and eight dancers from Mr. Varone's company moving sometimes in tandem, sometimes in opposition, "Orpheus and Euridice" is choreographed from beginning to end. Mr. Varone has inserted dance moments even when Mr. Gordon's flowing, open-ended music pauses for breath.

published: October 2, 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:53 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Orpheus for Singer, Dancers, Instruments
by JOHN ROCKWELL for the New York Times

Mr. Varone's dancers are handsome, but the choreography he provides them, perhaps simplified to blend with the movements asked of the musicians, looks like portentous Greek-choral posing.

published: October 7, 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:00 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Euridice Returns (Again)
Dancers minister to a pair of ill-fated lovers
by DEBORAH JOWITT for the Village Voice

Varone's dancing chorus instigates mobility as well as emphasizing facets of Gordon's libretto. Not only do the dancers hoist the brave and remarkably compliant Palmer and Futral; they gently lead the two on and bring them together. They never dance pretty interludes, and Varone's movement palette is relatively simple—enhancing rather than distracting from the flow of the story. Their roles, however, are many.

published: October 17, 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:25 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
Varone and Company Rise to the Occasion
Doug Varone and Dancers
April 7, 2006 8PM
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

15 years in the making, and Doug Varone and Dancers have returned to San Francisco. I wasn’t here the first time, as I was in middle school and probably off at a slumber party order pizza and talking about first kisses. But last night’s performance inspired me to hopefully catch the company again before another 15 years goes by. Presented at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts by San Francisco Performances, the company of nine dancers (including Varone himself) swept in for the first night of a three-performance run featuring three West Coast premieres, all focusing somewhat steadily on relationships and couplings.

The big hit of the night proved to be Varone’s "Castles." With Prokofiev’s hauntingly eerie "Waltz Suite," eight dancers paired up and flew around the stage with each other in a powerful dance of match, mismatch, and rematch. I had fleeting memories of the ballroom scene in "Cinderella," processional and all, with each dancer searching for his or her special someone. The duet between Eddie Taketa and Natalie Desch proved particularly moving with emphasis on the pause, the thought, before each one advanced upon the other. And not only was their reflection and care evident with each place of a hand or the curve of the back, but Varone’s choreography proved thoughtful in itself. There’s no superfluous moves, no unnecessary gestures, no extra bold lighting cues. Instead, the dancers, the dance, and the costumes and set design-- it all comes together into a statement of hope and continuation, fully seen at the end with a flurry dancing spotlighted by the warm and touching lighting design by Jane Cox and Joshua Epstein.

Varone’s "Rise," choreographed in 1993 and commonly referred to as the company's signature work, opened the program. Set to John Adams’ minimalist yet moving "Fearful Symmetries," the work spotlighted four distinct couples dressed in violet, purple, teal green, and red. Emphasizing freedom of movement and solid release technique, the dancers overlapped in a smart study on the flow of motion. From mile-high leaps to steady balances in arabesque and supported lifts overhead, these dancers didn’t stop--even in a “resting state,” there’s plenty of emotion and dedication in their faces, presence, and line. Time doesn’t pause, and neither does the dance, with the pace charging onward and upward with fierce determination.

"The Thing of the World" showed us that Varone isn’t just about large group pieces that make you lean on the edge of your seat for 28 minutes. A duet for Varone and John Beasant III, "The Thing of the World" focused on what happens to a relationship when things go wrong. Stressing repetition in slightly different situations, we saw that not only do things not always happen according to plan, but that many times our emotions and actions get out of control, to the point of disastrous results. While including more gesturing and posturing than full on dance phrases and not as visually stimulating as "Rise" or "Castles," "The Thing of the World" is an interesting study in its own right.

Doug Varone and Dancers marries contemplative, intricate choreography with talented dancers in what might be one of the most successful modern dance performances I‘ve seen for awhile. Yet Friday’s house looked only half-full at best, so let’s hope others catch on as well. While New York City is lucky to be home to Doug Varone and Dancers, San Francisco has received a gift with these three performances, and let’s hope that they return again soon.

_________________
So two dancers walked into a barre...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:03 pm 
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I wasn't sure what to expect when Doug Varone brought his company and choreography to Yerba Buena Center in SF. But I was still underwhelmed by all three works on display, "Rise," "The Thing of the World," and "Castles" -- they were all different but yet similar in an unscripted post-modern sort of way that smacks of pretentiousness.

Perhaps I would have been impressed and maybe even elated had the choreographer been a young up and coming artist but Varone is not, with decades of experience to his belt. I expect more, a lot more, from someone this experienced.

It's not too say his works were bad -- they just look so much like works in progress...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:22 pm 
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Hmmm, I have to disagree with you, Azlan. I felt there was structure, phrase development, and powerful resolution. What made them feel like works in progress? And how did they "smack" of pretentiousness?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:48 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I've seen Doug Varone and dancers a couple of times, the last being in in the 2-week Bytom Festival in Poland last year, where they performed:

"Proverb", "Of the Earth Below", "Rise"

it was one of the strongest programmes over the fortnight, although the necessity of minimal sets for this flying visit meant that the the first and third were older works with some similarities. Overall, I found Varone's choreography rich and powerful.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:03 pm 
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RaHir wrote:
Hmmm, I have to disagree with you, Azlan. I felt there was structure, phrase development, and powerful resolution. What made them feel like works in progress? And how did they "smack" of pretentiousness?


Good! We need more disagreement in the Modern Dance forum!

For me personally, things that bothered me were dancers going in and out of "character," like stopping to brush their hair aside, being out of place when having to stand still as if the standing still wasn't choreographed or coached, losing focus on the action on stage as if there was a gap in the choreography, etc. etc. I don't think it's the dancers -- I think too much was left for them to figure out on their own...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:08 pm 
there were dancers stopping to brush their hair? and "out of place"? like not an exact formation like cheerleaders or paul taylor dancers? i must have missed these things that smack of pretentiousness. but what i like about post-modern (and this supposedly pretentious style) is that not everything is exact, and it's really about the movement and the flow of ideas. not everyone needs to be all uniform and in sync, and the complexities build upon one another rather than detract from the overall work. made it's a new york thing that hasn't quite made its way westward yet.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:11 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
there were dancers stopping to brush their hair? and were "out of place"? like not an exact formation like cheerleaders or paul taylor dancers? i must have missed these things that smack of pretentiousness. but what i like about post-modern (and this supposedly pretentious style) is that not everything is exact, and it's really about the movement and the flow of ideas. not everyone needs to be all uniform and in sync, and the complexities build upon one another rather than detract from the overall work. made it's a new york thing that hasn't quite made its way westward yet.

ps. i really wish the board prompted me to log myself in if i wasn't already instead of just automatically posting me as "guest." grrr. argh.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:52 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
RaHir wrote:
Maybe it's a new york thing that hasn't quite made its way westward yet.


That could be but I do spend a lot of time in NYC getting acquainted with edgy and new styles. I've been there about three times already since February and am heading out there again mid-May. Here's what I did there last weekend:

http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26763

Maybe I'm too focused on the details?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:21 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
I saw Doug Varone and Dancers last night at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, which is part of Santa Barbara's Summerdance modern dance festival. They performed two pieces: Castles and a piece they've been working on while in residence here: The Ruins of Language.

Castles feels like one of those jokes that take 20 minutes to set up the punchline. The punchline is funny, but you wonder if it was worth the wait. The first 4 movements set up the last movement which used to good effect the famous midnight waltz from Prokoviev's Cinderella. It was in that last part that I really saw the choreography come alive with movement and complexity to match the music. The first 4 looked like he had recruited normal movements from normal life --- running, walking, etc. --- a la Paul Taylor, and tried to fit it into a dance. It didn't really work for me because I kept thinking about how much it reminded me of Taylor, and the "postmodern" sloppiness of the movement also bugged me, including the above-mentioned brushing aside of hair --- is this actually choreographed? The movement also incorporated some contact-improv-like things, especially the pas de deux for two men. There seemed throughout to be a sort of yearning, push-pull, want-to-don't-want-to kind of feeling, and I wish he had explored that further. The piece itself also seemed self-consicously untheatrical --- for example, the costumes had that "I'm going to wear normal-looking undistiniguished clothes, but for no dance-related reason" kind of look.

In Ruins of a Language, we found something completely different: theatrical to a hilt, with so many elements working together to create the overall alien, closed-in feel. It provoked lots of thought: what was going on here, why are these people doing these things? The costumes made it seem like everyone was part of a prison or mental institution. Lighting was used to highlight things that didn't fit. Video projections were used to suggest subtext or motivations. Singers punctuated certain themes to heighten them in relief. The use of two much older dancers stood out, especially since they seemed to be trying to do different things than everyone else --- compared to the younger, fitter dancers around them, were they supposed to stand for something that doesn't fit in? The movable walls closed in and trapped people or divided them. Chairs were arranged and rearranged in classroom-like settings for classes or for indoctrination? With everything going on in the real world right now, I can't help but wonder how much of a commentary on the current bitter political polarization is this piece. It's a strange, fascinating piece that could perhaps use a bit of editing, as there were several things at the end that could be mistaken for an ending.

--Andre


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