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Doug Varone and Dancers.

DOUG VARONE AND DANCERS

JOYCE THEATER, NYC OCTOBER 24-29, 2006

Doug Varone's choreography is among the most human in contemporary dance. In Boats Leaving, as the title might suggest, the cast of eight appeared to anticipate a journey. Suspended in a kind of purgatory, they peered anxiously into the distance, huddling together, queuing and re-queuing. Varone deviated from his usual flow of energy, infusing the work with stillness. The dancers formed tableaux that seemed to evoke the compositions of heroic Theodore Gericault paintings before scattering to the stage's perimeter. Arvo Part's spiritual Te Deum mirrored Varone's coalescing and dispersing kinetics with its sonorous climaxes and spacious vacuums. Jane Cox's intense blue lighting seemed like a gel that trapped the frozen, waiting dancers. In the heartbreaking ending--the first time any of the performers left the stage--the dancers lined up and the first two stepped aside to let the third depart; variations repeated until all had exited, leaving a blue void.

In contrast, Lux, to music by Philip Glass, was about life--big, vivid, and buoyant. Varone danced solo to begin and end the piece, in itself an affirmation of renewal after his recent hip replacement. He is a treat to watch--voluptuous in his own vocabulary, his emotions laid bare. Eddie Taketa joined him for a reprising duet and the two veterans roiled delectably through the juiciest of Varone's movement, exchanging cues and grins. Unlike Boats Leaving, Lux was filled with varying dynamics and quickly shifting solos and groups. It is the kind of dance in which any and every kind of movement shows up, from soft shoe to ballroom to jumping jacks. But mostly it was filled with Varone's sensuous, athletic syntax and driving energy, tumbling-yet-precise movements, and rubbery torsos. Liz Prince designed the suave black pants with neat colored kick panels; Robert Wierzel the lighting, which included a slowly rising moon.

Castles completed the program, its whimsical Prokofiev score setting a fable atmosphere. The dancers seemed to be playing games, or perhaps training for war games. It was even more satisfying to watch than when it premiered in 2004. See www.dougvaroneanddancers.org.
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Author:Yung, Susan
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Words:352
Previous Article:American Ballet Theatre.
Next Article:National Ballet of Canada.


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