Doug Varone and Dancers at the Joyce

Doug Varone
Gong played by David Van Tieghem at Chapters from a Broken Novel by Doug Varone and Dancers at the Joyce Theater

Doug Varone and Dancers had their New York premiere of Chapters from a Broken Novel at the Joyce Theater and it was powerful.

The program states: “Drawn from a collection of quotes from books, films and overheard conversations, Chapters from a Broken Novel is comprised of twenty short dances. Viewed together, they form a continuously unfolding sequence of intimate portraits, exposing human nature with beauty and rawness.” It was exactly that – 20 beautifully executed sequences (without intermission) where each group piece became more epic than the last. The intermittent solos, duets, trios, and quartets explored human nature in depth while the five pieces in the middle including “Ron Tells the Truth,” Tile Riot,” “Rewind,” “Twelve Dreams for Rent,” and “Men” offered a comedic break to the intense emotional height of the performance.

The backdrop of the piece designed by Andrew Lieberman was more like a “topdrop” that shifted throughout, offering a multitude of lighting options that were unique and fresh. The lighting by Jane Cox was also unique with its neon yellow, green and blue.

The music by David Van Tieghem was beautiful and allowed for the epic dance sequences. I was lucky enough to sit right in front of the huge gong as additional percussion was played live by David Van Tieghem himself. Van Tieghem had two large tables and various contraptions filled with typical percussion instruments including a xylophone and tambourine, and not so typical instruments including tupperware containers and tin cans (reminded me of ETC).

With regard to the piece itself, human nature was exposed through fast-paced and fluid dancing. The dancers thrust themselves with off balance moves – utilizing lots of contact and strong partnering. The high energy played out through intricate traffic patterns that seemed to extend offstage.

All in all, I really enjoyed the technical merit of the dancers, the artistic caliber and the awesome music of David Van Tieghem.

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Filed under Art, Dance

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