Chapters to be Viewed–Not Read.

10/03/11 8:00 PM

Doug Varone and Dancers have a New York Times bestseller on their hands. A real page turner. When you reach the end—-there is a standing ovation. This is not a book one opens and closes. It is a work of literature in motion. A New York premiere of a dance.

Doug Varone, acclaimed choreographer and artistic director of Doug Varone and Dancers has scripted a new dance work titled Chapters From a Broken Novel. It is a must READ –I mean VIEW.

Doug Varone and Dancers have been creating innovative dance for  24 years. The Company is based in New York, New York, USA. Several hallmarks of this stellar dance company are its innovative moves, idiosyncratic arm work, drops and lifts, refined slight movements, physicality, synchronized eclectic vignettes, and raw emotion. In short, Doug Varone and Dancers are at the apex of their craft.

Doug is a methodical keeper of quotes and notes. If he reads something that strikes him as interesting, quirky, touching, disturbing, or witty–he jots it down. Over the years, these quote have accumulated therefore creating the structure of Chapters From A Broken Novel. This particular dance is a series of “chapters” pieced together into a holistic work.

The seven dancers who comprise the company are: Julia Burrer, Ryan Corriston, Natalie Desch, Erin Owen, Alex Springer, Eddie Taketa, and Netta Yerushalmy. All dancers are lyrical when they take to the stage.  When they dance solo, or as a unified company, they personify beauty, passion, physicality, and pathos.

 I have one request.

I want to go grocery shopping with Julia.


I would ask her to reach for all sorts of items on the top shelf of the grocery store just to witness the fluidity and grace of her arm as they move. Her arm movements are like no other arm movements in the dance world today. She create heavenly motion. Sweeping. Spinning. Swirling. So unique. So Julia.

 I would ask Julia to reach for things I don’t even like. For example– canned asparagus. Top shelf.  

Freeze-dried coffee.  Top shelf.

Swing your graceful arms, Julia! Canned frosting. No. Not chocolate fudge. I want the artificial cream cheese frosting  in the way, way back.  

Reach. Now swing. And reach. An swing. And reach. And reach. You go, Julia!

I am in awe.

In Chapters From A Broken Novel, Ryan and Netta dance what love looks like when it turns bitter and sour. A car driven off a map. As Doug noted at a recent lecture, one can find bits and pieces from one’s life experiences in the chapters of  his new dance work. When Ryan and Netta come together, in a Chapter titled “Ruby Throated Sparrow,” you feel tension emanating from the stage— all the way back in Row H, seat 7.  I cringe watching their love die before my eyes. 

Erin’s solo titled “Tile Riot” from Chapters From A Broken Novel  is like peeking into a lit window outside a stranger’s house.



What Erin is doing inside this imaginary indoor space is what we all do when no-one is looking; we dance around the room. We sing into an imaginary hairbrush. We engage in ritualistic behaviors, moving stuff around. You know, stuff. Erin then breaks into a 1960s mod dance. Thank  goodness NO ONE is watching. 

 Erin. Hello. You are dancing to a full house.


People ARE watching you, Erin. Yet, we all can relate.

In the chapter titled “Funeral,” Eddie moves like a Morning Glory unfolding toward the Cape Cod morning sun. So Zen-like. The lighting is impeccable. Eddie’s slow calculated motion is similar to watching a painting evolve from gesso on a blank stretched canvas to a masterpiece in a singular tableau.

Eddie dances fast when fast dance is called for. And he is the master of slow dance, when slow dance is called for. Did I mention, Eddie is a great fast and slow dancer?

Sorry Natalie. Friends off-stage, yet when you dance the “mean-woman,” and  go after Erin in one particular Chapter, you are a  BULLY with a capital B. You are so believable, like the  soap opera star I meet at an upscale 5th Avenue Department Store.  I want to tell the star off, and mouth off to her how dispicable she is for stealing so-and-so—- then reality kicks in.

 Oh. She is an actress playing a part. Acting. In this case Natalie is  a dancer dancing. Yet she dances “mean” with  perfection, audience members want to give Natalie a slice of their tongue.

Off stage, Natalie you are genteel as Southern ice tea. (This is a compliment.)

Alex has the “swing thing” down to perfection. He lifts, and swirls Julia in a Chapter. Alex is great in the air. Leap with wild abandon, Alex! Throw yourself towards the theater’s ceiling. I will climb up into the rafters and get peel you off the ceiling  if need be. I am no longer afraid of heights. Whirl and swirl. You are the master of the duo-spin. Whoosh!

Doug Varone and Dancers have been touring with recent stops in Boston, Massachusetts, Portland, Maine, and  Greenville, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.  

Now it is time for Doug’s triumphant return to New York, New York, USA.

 Doug Varone and Dancers will premier in New York Chapters From A Broken Novel on Tuesday night, March 15th at the acclaimed and  historic Joyce Theater. A special Cast Party is being held for those purchasing tickets for $250 and above opening night. Tickets for opening night are still available by contacting

Many of my Blog readers express they wish to meet me in person. I will be at the March 15th performance and the Post Premiere Cast Party. Tickets for the Open Night Festivities are still  available yet going fast. Contact DOVA today. I would love to meet my New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey readers and collectors.

If you have never seen live dance, it is mind candy. Ethereal. It take your imagination to a higher level of consciousness.

Sensational dance would not be complete without an original musical score. Doug teamed up with David Van Tiegham, noted sound artist. His musical score compliments the movements Doug has created from his rich imagination and life experiences.

Tickets for the post opening night performances may be purchased at JoyceCharge at 212 242-0800. Tickets start at $10 and up. Chapters From A Broken Novel  is performed at Joyce Theater, 175 Eight Avenue at 19th Street from March 15-20, 2011.  You may also go to for more information.

Erin…………..why do I have 174 cans of yuckie frosting, 93 glass jars of freeze dried coffee, and 296 cans of asparagus in my shopping cart?

See you at the Joyce Theater!

This is a dance performance you do NOT want to miss.

Brendan Ben Feeney at Ben’s Blog

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