Arts & Life

Doug Varone and Dancers wow the Carpenter Center

The New York based company Dough Varone and Dancers came to the Carpenter Center on Saturday delighting the audience with a pleasing blend of balletic grace and modern movement.

Varone opened the show with “Lux”, a soothing and melodic piece to watch. The moon sits in the background above the dancers while they move underneath like waves in the ocean. The dancers use the space created by one another to move in interesting ways. In this piece, Varone employed cannons, group lifts and movements based on contact improvisation.

The three-piece show included two 15-minute intermissions, which allowed the audience to focus on each 30-minute piece with fresh attention.

The second piece “Six Chapters from a Broken Novel” featured six mini-dances that each portrayed an intimate scene of human life. Each scene within this piece was based on a different quote from a book, film, or overheard conversation.

The third dance within this piece, “Tile Riot,” was based on this quote from American humorist Erma Bombeck: “What do you think is really going on when a child is locked in the bathroom for an hour with water running and he says he’s doing nothing.”

The piece starts with the sound of a toilet flushing then jazzy hip-hop dance tunes take over. A little girl (Erin Owen) dances like no one is watching and rifles through the drawers to put on what can only be her mother’s lipstick. It’s cute, relatable and made the audience laugh. Sometimes people just want to be entertained and “Tile Riot” certainly did that with plenty of finger dancing and the odd disco move for good measure.

The final piece of the evening, “Boats Leaving,” had very ethereal undertones to it. If you ever wondered what heaven would sound like, then composer Arvo Part has the answer with the music for this piece entitled Te Deum. It has the quality of the echo of Franciscan monks singing in an old church.

The choreography follows a pattern of movements followed by briefly held poses and as the dance progressed, the poses got longer. This technique really forced the audience to carefully consider each intricate movement. At times you would see a struggle as the dancers tried to fight the moments of stillness and failed. Their struggle was reminiscent of the human struggle of our own mortality. This piece featured one very impressive athletic movement, including a piece where a dancer would start to do a push-up and then leap over another dancer.

The show ended with a standing ovation from the audience. 

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