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Doug Varone and Dancers



Thursday & Saturday, July 18 & 20
Schaeffer Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
$25/$18/$12 (Adult/Seniors/Students)


Doug Varone
Doug Varone and Dancers by Cylla Von Tiedemann


One of America's most celebrated dance makers, Doug Varone and Dancers returns to the Festival to celebrate its 25th anniversary with the stunning new works, Able to leap tall buildings set to a haunting score by Julia Wolfe andCarrugi set to Mozart, as well as Varone's signature tour de force, Rise, inspired by John Adams’ ecstatic score, Fearful Symmetries. Known for expansive vision, versatility and technical prowess, Varone's kinetically thrilling work makes essential connections and mines the complexity of the human spirit. (Family friendly.) For more info: Doug Varone and Dancers

“An evening of Doug Varone’s choreography is a feast of tens of thousands of individual moments, from the intricate to the mundane, from the witty to the emotionally charged. Wonderfully Inventive. Exhilarating.” --Kansas City Star

“Varone dancers are kinetically thrilling. They go all the way, both when they’re in vivid, rushing motion and when they’re in deep stillness.” --New York Observer

“Rise rises almost to the ecstatic. Dancers leap through the air and are snatched out of it by other dancers, keeping them, we suspect, from flying. The excitement keeps building until its almost too much, then dissolves into an ending so quiet that it virtually pulls you out of your seat.” -- Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Sneak Preview: Doug Varone and Dancers offers a free Show & Tell, Tue, July 16, Schaeffer Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Post Performance Q&A: Please join us for discussions with the artists immediately following both concerts.

Inside Dance: Understanding Contemporary Performance. A pre-performance talk about Varone's work with dance writer, Hannah Kosstrin. Sat, July 20, 7:00 p.m. Schaeffer Theatre.


Watch Video
bio  Interview with Doug Varone

This year you are celebrating 25 years as as one of America's most vibrant and prolific choreographers. What inspires you to create work?

I am inspired by the artists that I work with everyday who constantly push me to discover new things about making dances and how to share them. I think that the art form has gone through such radical changes in the last 25 years and it always is an honest struggle to continue to create work that remains true to my original mission. That struggle in itself is inspirational because it makes the end result so much more rewarding.

What has been the greatest challenge to sustaining a dance company over time?

Continuing to create work that pushes me into new territory has been the most artistic challenge. Realistically, the largest single issue however is figuring out how to pay for it all. I remain committed to creating an environment that is a safe playground for myself and dancers and that takes time and money. Finding new ways to fund projects that I really want to imagine and keeping the dancers employed in various ways continues to be a day to day journey. I am not sure it has gotten easier over time, only the fact that I know what I want and where I am headed has changed.

Can you talk about the evolution of your newest work "Mouths Above Water"? What attracted you to Julia Wolfe's score?

Julia's score is amazing, filled with so much dramatic tension. I tried to let my imagination enter into the sounds I was hearing and the tension I was feeling and create scenarios that viscerally matched that. While we were beginning to create the work we did an phenomenal residency in the several hospitals in Buffalo, NY. We allowed the patients to create dances on us, using their stories and dreams and it was a very potent time for us. Perhaps due to the situations they were in, all of the material had this remarkable edge to it. As we moved into the studio, we danced some it to Julia's new score and the results were very satisfying. We used this material as the jumping off point to create the dance, setting the tone. The dance evolves in 4 movements and the title is a reference to drowning. It's said that the last image you see of a person drowning is of their mouth above the water taking in a final breath. There is calmness in their face, even while everything under the surface of the water is frantically thrashing. I think this image is key to the dance.

You have been thrilling audiences at the Bates Dance Festival now since 1992. What happens when you return to a community like BDF over time?

I am always excited to return to Bates because we have so much history with the Festival. The word community is hugely important. We first arrived at Bates in 1992 and created a dance entitled "A Momentary Order". We worked deeply with the community to build a dance that told their stories and every year we've returned since, I constantly bump into people who we met during that process and whose lives were changed in some way. In the past 20 years, we've seen several generations of dancers pass through the Festival, many of them going on to create wonderful careers for themselves. It's that continuous circle that makes BDF so important in the dance field, we all remain connected in some on going way.

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