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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:16 pm 
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Oh, oh. Watch out, Andre. RaHir is going to "debate" your points...


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:17 am 
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i wasn't going to even debate this because if you don't appreciate post-modernism, then what's the point? but azlan, i think you've encouraged me. it's this appreciation that's needed! and by appreciation, i don't mean "like." you don't have to like post-modernism. but if you're watching it, it would help to have context and some understanding. otherwise, you're evaluating it based on false pretenses, and that's not fair to the dancers, choreographer, or others.

i try not to judge ballet expecting david dorfman and vice versa. perhaps it's this expectation that ruins the overall experience for you, andre. same thing with the costumes- this is the "style" that many post-modern choreographers go for and with a reason- they're basic, not ballet or traditional, easy to move in, and accesible clothes. post-modernism isn't about putting on a show and entertaining; it's about conveying ideas through everyday movement and the body.

the movement doesn't have to match the music. this isn't ballet, where when it's an adagio you know you'll have a promenade and some developees and such or when there's quick, spritely music you'll get little hops en pointe and airy saute en tournants. in modern dance, the choreography doesn't not have to be difficult turns and tricks. it's the purpose behind the movements and gestures (yes, like walking, running, and brushing your hair), the phrasing, the construction of ideas, and development of the movement that transitions the steps into the choreography, movement, and overall dance.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 4:09 pm 
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I think what I objected to most was the untheatricality of Castles --- I think the point of going to see theater is to have a heightened experience of some sort, except perhaps boredom. If someone's going to show us normal movement, that's fine, but show us something new about it that you don't notice in its everyday context. Same thing with the clothes. In many ways, the clothing in Ruins was even less interesting than Castles's, but because it fit the concept of the piece, normally plain-looking clothes took on significant meaning. The costumes in Castles didn't make sense, and seemed arbitrary. If that piece was about movement, then why not put everyone in tights or less?

In contrast, Aszure Barton's Over/Come which was also part of the festival took everyday expressions and clothing and twisted its context, use, and syntax to say lots of disturbing things about the subtext and undercurrents of everyday relationships.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:57 pm 
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most post-modernists don't dress their dancers in tights and leotards because as i mentioned above, it's not about the outfits. they're supposed to be more pedestrian looking, more accessible, less showy. as in, not looking like ballet dancers, but like regular people. how "interesting" they are is moot. instead, it's about an overall idea or mood.

for those who are curious, for images from "castles," you can go here.

this idea of "normal movement," i don't think i want to even go there. but post-modernism is just what you don't seem to like or appreciate: untheatricalness (if that's a word). there aren't any bells or whistles.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:31 pm 
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Perhaps you are right. I don't understand why I'd want to see something if it isn't interesting or theatrical. Why not sit on a park bench and watch people go by instead of buying a ticket?

Perhaps this isn't your intention, but I hope post-modernism hasn't fallen into the theory trap that serial music and other intellectually-driven artistic fads have fallen into where the theory of the art's mechanics overtakes the art itself: pieces are made to fit into a certain theory rather than using the theory as a tool in order to express something.

Also, please don't take what I've said as a criticism of post-modernism, but instead as a criticism of Varone's take on post-modernism.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:57 pm 
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Well, I agree with both of you to a certain extent.

I agree with RaHir that you need to have an appreciation of post-modernism to appreciate Doug Varone's work. But I agree with Andre that if I'm going to pay money to see something I would like it to be some how different than what I see waiting for the bus.

Post-modernism takes many forms though, which I suppose is part of the point. Some of it is good (I think Doug Varone falls in this category) and some of it is dismal (like some of the schlock I saw at WestWave). The line between them is fine and liquid and up to the interpretation of the viewer. Something I hate could be another's favorite piece. And that's what I love about art.

I don't like to make judgement calls on art i.e. that's bad, good, ugly, pretty, etc. I like more informativeand precise adjectives and adverbs. I also don't like to dismiss an artist's entire body of work. There may be something I haven't seen or that is yet to be created that is transcendent or groundbreaking. Even Britney Spears has a single song I like.

So what do I think about Doug Varone? He's making work people are still talking about. That to me equals success.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:12 pm 
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LMCtech wrote:
...like some of the schlock I saw at WestWave...


Yeah, I heard that too... I have to admit it I decided to give it a wide berth this year...


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 2:51 pm 
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Robert Gottlieb has positive things to say about Doug Varone in the New York Observer:

NY Observer


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:57 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
Doug Varone and Dancers
At Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Presented by San Francisco Performances
Sunday, April 20, 2008, 2PM

Doug Varone and Dancers, a fixture in the New York City dance scene and modern dance departments at various New England colleges for years, graced San Francisco with its presence this past weekend. The company, plus Mr. Varone himself, skipped across the stage and back into our hearts, reminding us that dance is an everlasting feeling, even when sitting upright in a well padded chair.

The evening opened with Varone’s shining “Lux,” a visual kaleidoscope of Philip Glass’s minimalist “The Light.” The ever-introspective Eddie Taketa opened the work with soft jumps and a thoughtful look upon his face while a round, yellow moon began to rise in the background. The seven other dancers, dressed in Liz Prince’s elegant black separates, sprung out of the wings to join Taketa in this intelligent yet deceivingly simple-looking romp. They circled about in pairs, trios, and groups, continuously growing and retreating with the pulsing music until everyone burst into a glowing lit of bodies against the darkness behind.

“Home,” a dance theater duet with Natalie Desch and Varone, swayed the mood from lighthearted to downright serious and depressing. “Home” may be where the heart is, but Desch and Varone investigated some ups and mostly downs of life at home: the angst, love, passion, hate, and need. Both of the performers put their best into this performance, and their powerful presence grew as they shifted their wooden chairs from one spot to another quickly. Clack, Clack. Bang, Bang. Boom, Boom. But the mood had shifted so far from the tenderness and beauty of “Lux” that I felt it hard to become totally immersed in “Home.”

“Boats Leaving,” though, mixed the best of both worlds into one picturesque movement score. Accompanied by Arvo Pärt's “Te Deum,” a choral work with voices beautifully rising and falling, the eight dancers formed into snapshots and then elaborated on them, expressing emotions and feelings as they fluttered about or wiggled on the floor face down. Bathed in Jane Cox’s golden and then cooler side lighting, the dancers pushed forward, supporting each other as they danced in isolation or together. Taketa and Desch led the way, whether leading the group in a sharp diagonal or gesturing with an arm or head, and Netta Yerushalmy danced with a quiet intensity.

Each of Varone’s dancers displayed impressive qualities, which is a telling sign. He understands how to direct and showcase a remarkable complement of abilities within his own well-structured and developed movement, and he tells a good story through airy gestures and musical choreography to boot. Varone and his troupe aren’t scheduled to return to San Francisco anytime soon, but let’s hope they do.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:00 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
Doug Varone and Dancers head straight for poetry
By Ann Murphy
Contra Costa Times
Correspondent
04/21/2008 10:17:11 AM PDT

Quote:
Doug Varone knows his way around a circle.

The New York-based choreographer, whose company Doug Varone and Dancers performed at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for a woefully brief run last weekend, also knows the possibilities inherent in triangles, squares and straight lines.

He uses geometric form to do the heavy lifting in his finely crafted work, then releases his dancers into the music with sensuous abandon. It is an irresistible formula: formal design channeling animal impulse resulting in molten patterns riding, plunging and pressing on.


More...

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