One of the first shows to grace the new South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center will be coming soon: a night of dance performance by the New York based Doug Varone and Dancers. This event has been in the works since the company performed at Jacob’s Pillow two years ago — and should be a pretty spectacular visit.
Choreography is only one of the things Doug Varone does. Lately he’s been working on a new musical about Sleeping Beauty. He also directs opera around the country, and has worked in film. But, he says, “my home base is as a dance maker — I see the world in terms of how bodies move.” His choreography bears the mark of a multidisciplinary eye and mind, and the company has been around for 24 years, no doubt because Varone is constantly, as he put it, “reimagining what’s possible.”
Regardless of his range, there are common themes that surface. “It’s always about relationships,” he explains, “and there’s always an underlying sense of humanity.” His ideas about people and community actually shape how each piece comes together — Varone has a habit of incorporating local artists and outreach programs into his traveling performances.
Artistic outreach is also a regular part of his company’s touring schedule. When Varone visited a few selected Miami high schools in preparation for an educational program, he discovered an unlikely group of collaborators at Coral Reef High School. “I was really blown away by the talent that was in that school,” he said, and so he decided to take them on for the Miami performance of Boats Leaving, one of three pieces to be performed at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on Saturday, May 14. Two other repertory works will also be presented: a new work titled Glass, and the company’s explosive signature piece, Lux.
Doug Varone and Company has recruited local steel drummer Leon Foster Thomas for a separate event called Stripped on May 10 at Inkub8 in Miami’s Wynwood arts district. Stripped will be an open-studio evening featuring performance excerpts alongside a presentation about the company’s creative process. It’s significant that the event is happening at Inkub8, a space founded as an alternative performance space and creative lab. Inkub8 is home base for many local choreographers, and has already, in a short time, become a valuable resource for the development of new work. Stripped will not only be a chance for Miami’s dance community to hear more about the creative construction of Varone’s work – it’s also a fundraiser for Inkub8. Good news all around.
Performance and fundraiser by Doug Varone and Dancers with live music by Leon Foster Thomas, Tuesday, May 10 at 8:00 p.m.
Inkub8, 2021 NW 1st Place; tickets $10; for info call 305-482-1621 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Varone and Dancers, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
Saturday May 14, at 8:00 p.m.
Pre-performance Talkback, 7:00 p.m., Black Box Theater
Master class for dancers on Thursday May 12 at 7:00 p.m., 10950 SW 211 St.; Cutler Bay
$25, $15, $10; more Info: www.miamidadearts.org or 786-573-5316; tickets: visit www.ticketweb.com
Photo: Chapters from a Broken Novel J. Burrer, A. Springer, Photo © Phil Knott