Varone and Dancers
College currently is hosting a summer dance workshop with
critically acclaimed dance company Doug Varone and Dancers.
The troupe, who will be at Skidmore until June 26, are teaching
a range of classes in dance, choreography and performance.
Verone says, “With this workshop we’ll seek to explore and
enhance those individual strengths as dancers and creative
artists. Providing a supportive environment and the time
to discover these new challenges is essential.”
Tomorrow (Friday), Varone and company take a break from
the workshops and will perform at Albany’s Egg.
Varone founded his company in 1986 and has been choreographing
dances for them ever since. Many of these works have been
commissioned by leading presenters like the American Dance
Festival, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Wolf Trap
Foundation for the Performing Arts and the Joyce Theater.
He’s received plenty of honors during his career, including
a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Dance and Performance
Award (Bessie) for Sustained Achievement in Choreography,
and annual fellowships from the National Endowment for the
According to Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times,
“Varone has produced some of modern dance’s most engrossing
works. His dancers rush headlong into movement that spills
even spools out onstage. There is a dazzle to these complex
swiftly formed patterns.” The Village Voice’s
Deborah Jowitt wrote in her recent review of the company,
“I go to concerts by Doug Varone for a fix of gorgeous,
strangely evasive sensuality that shivers off the stage
and into the audience.”
Doug Varone and Dancers will perform at the Egg (Empire
State Plaza, Albany) tomorrow (Friday, June 11) at 8 PM
as part of the Dance New York series. Tickets are $24, $19
seniors, $12 children. For information and tickets, call
the Egg box office at 473-1845.
Hillman and Herb Pedersen
Byrds are credited with all but inventing folk-rock with
their hit 1965 version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
It’s been speculated that that was the very catalyst that
sparked ol’ Bob to plug himself in at that same year’s Newport
Folk Festival. Mandolin player Chris Hillman was actually
a late draft to the band’s lineup—added as a bassist while
the Byrds were in the studio—but that didn’t stop him from
singing lead on 10 of their hits and penning the legendary
Monkees jab “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” Hillman
also helped shape the band’s sound in later years, as they
moved toward a more countrified rock sound that was true
to his own roots, a style he continued to practice in post-Byrds
projects like the Flying Burrito Brothers (with legendary
wastoid Gram Parsons) and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band
(with songwriter J.D. Souther and Poco-leader-gone-Jesus-freak
Richie Furay). Hillman hooked up with banjoist Herb Pedersen
two decades ago to form the Desert Rose Band, and the two
have been making music together ever since. The duo’s latest
release, Way Out West, combines original compositions
with classic country fare, including songs by Ray Price
and the Louvin Brothers.
Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen will take the stage as part
of the American Roots & Branches series at the Egg’s
Swyer Theater on Sunday (June 13). Sharing the bill is Texas-based
songwriter Slaid Cleaves, who is touring in support of his
latest LP, Wishbone. Tickets for the 7:30 PM performance
are $22. For more information, call 473-1845.
folks—even some regular theatergoers—have difficulty with
the very concept of the musical: For certain audience members,
any sudden, inexplicable bursting into song induces fits
of disbelief in ways that, say, actors performing an entire
play while interred in urns does not. Composer lyricist
Adam Guettel has a direct, if sarcastic, reaction to those
who are so challenged: “God forbid you should care about
anything so much that you’d sing about it.”
That’s the key, says Guettel, whose acclaimed work Floyd
Collins begins its run at the Berkshire Theatre Festival
tonight (Thursday): emotion. The musical allows for the
dramatic illustration of emotion in ways that “straight”
theater doesn’t. For example: the story of Floyd Collins,
a young Kentuckian hoping to realize entreprenurial dreams
by discovering a tourist-friendly cave system, who gets
trapped in the very caverns he hoped would lead to riches.
Lots of emotional opportunities here, certainly. If told
by David Mamet, though, the play would probably go a bit
Floyd: Fuck if I do not make a fuckin’ fortune on this.
misteps, tumbles and is trapped beneath the earth’s surface.
how a song might punch this up? And Guettel has the skills.
Not only has he a promising lineage (he’s the son of Mary
Hart, and the grandson of composer Richard Rodgers), but
his contributions to Floyd Collins earned him the
designation “the next Sondheim” when it debuted in 1994.
Collins opens tonight (June 10) at the Berkshire Theatre
Festival (Main Street, Stockbridge, Mass.), and runs through
July 3. $27-$42. For show times or more information, (413)