January 23, 2014
Dance rightfully transcends the human need for lingual communication and translates to an audience its stories, abstractions, and the most sublime characteristics of humanity through the inspired minds of artists. Doug Varone, of the Doug Varone Dance Company, is one such artist who has in his 27 year history choreographed a collection of pieces that fall throughout the creative spectrum from heavy, dark, conflict-laden movements to freer, more optimistic pieces.
Every choreographer has a signature he unconsciously laces into the piece, whether it be his feel for the music’s counts, or the movement taught to his dancers. Varone’s dances are captivating in their constant interaction and experimentation with space and forms. They feature strong silhouettes in each individual step, common-place intricate weaving between the dancers, and the intentional desire to have the dancers look as thought they, in Varone’s own words, “spilled across the stage” in unforeseeable ways. Similarly, Varone advocates using the arms of the dancers as many classical dancers wish to use them-as free (if not bordering on loose) sources of momentum, allowed to tuck close to the body to help the dancers reach new heights or spin with more ease.
The technique in the dancers’ movements is hard to miss as they swiftly move from position to position in a manner that makes it seem as though the physical expression is an unpredictable and in-the moment reaction to the immediate scene.
All this is combined with inspired music that feels as unpredictable as the accompanying dancing.
Most admirably, Varone understands that entirely communicating his original idea is no theatrical catastrophe. Instead, he builds upon the choreography he has already set into the muscles of his dancers and often incorporates the solos, certain combinations, and folds them into a new piece: an attempt to provide his best choreography a home in more suitable storyline. The result is a new movement that feels inspired, fresh, and slightly more epic.
If seeing the next accomplishment in a culminating repertoire of a man who has fearlessly spent years perfecting his modern-contemporary style of storytelling is an attractive offer, the company is set to perform on Hamilton College Campus in the month of January. Wellin Hall, January 25. Tickets: $20