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On Center: Dance Feast

by on August 27, 2012 2:46 PM

   A Kansas City Star reviewer describes a Doug Varone and Dancers performance as “a feast of tens of thousands of individual moments.” The New York City company’s modern dance makes its Center for the Performing Arts debut in an October 19 performance at Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium.

   The program features Carrugi, a new work set to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s La Betulia liberate. Carrugi delves into the libretto’s themes of heroism, mythmaking, duplicity, and conflict in a twenty-first-century world of comic-book-inspired imagery.

   The program also includes Lux, set to music by Philip Glass, and an excerpt from the evening-length Chapters from a Broken Novel.

   “Lux is all about freedom,” writes a Washington Post critic. “It is what dancing really feels like, the kind of dancing I might dream about: loose and sweeping in a spirit of exultation.” A Boston Globe reviewer observes that “Chapters from a Broken Novel (2010) — with its shards of dreams and groping tenderness — cracks the human condition wide open.”

   Amy Dupain Vashaw, audience and program development director at the Center for the Performing Arts, says she’s thrilled the company, founded in 1986, is performing for the first time in State College.

   “I’ve followed the work of Doug Varone for many years and have always loved the way his work speaks to the emotions while being so technically powerful,” she says.

   In addition to the main presentation, the company is scheduled to offer a free program of excerpts from its repertory and works in progress.

   “The night before his performance, he’ll be presenting Stripped, a program that demystifies modern dance by breaking it down into its component parts — exposing the undercarriage of the work and then putting it back together,” Vashaw says. “I think it’s going to be a very effective way to bring new audiences to this amazing art form of modern dance.”

   When not on tour, Doug Varone and Dancers is the resident company at the 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Center. The company has earned 11 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards.

   The versatile Varone applies his talents to dance, theater, opera, film, TV, and fashion. Besides guiding his own company, he has directed and choreographed operas, including four productions at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. A 2008 episode of the PBS Dance in America: Wolf Trap’s Face of America featured his Bottomland. Theater credits include choreography for Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional productions. He also has created works for Limón Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Rambert Dance Company, Bern Ballet, and other troupes.

   Designer’s Studio sponsors the performance. The presentation of Doug Varone and Dancers was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

   For more information or tickets, visit or phone (814) 863-0255.

John Mark Rafacz is the editorial manager of the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State.
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