Doug Varone

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2015

New York, NY

Doug Varone founded Doug Varone and Dancers in 1986, and has become known for his emotionally charged, animated, and distinctive movement style. His incredible ability to tell a non literal story can be seen in his solo The Fabulist (2014), in which he illustrates the confidence experienced in youth and the vulnerability that comes with aging. Captivated by detail, he is also known for site-specific works, like The Bottomland (2008), which was set in the Mammoth Caves of Kentucky, and featured in PBS’s Dance in America series. Commissions include the Limón Company, Hubbard Street, and Batsheva Dance Company. He received an OBIE Award (2006), multiple NEFA National Dance Project grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship (1996), and two individual Bessie Awards (1998, 2007). He is currently on faculty at Purchase College, and the company is in residency at the 92nd Street Y. He is working on a new commission from the American Dance Festival premiering in July 2015.

  • Photo Credit: Paula Lobo
    The Fabulist (2014)
  • Doug Varone- Excerpt from BOATS LEAVING (2006): /33409256
    Excerpt from BOATS LEAVING (2006)
  • Doug Varone- Dome (2014): /118879494
    Dome (2014)
  • Doug Varone- The Fabulist (2014): /121924540
    The Fabulist (2014)
  • Photo Credit: Phil Knott
  • Photo Credit: Jim Coleman
    Dome (2014)

What fuels your impulse to make creative work?

I have always considered myself a physical storyteller. Culling recognizable moments of human interaction, much like memories, I craft and unfold conversations in movement, both dramatic and abstract. The architecture between bodies creates passages of tension where a depth of possibilities seems endless to me. Movement usually stems from an instinctive impulse, compelling me to create dances that explore the psychological and emotional impact of relationships. With that language, I build atmospheres that allow for a multiplicity of meanings to be felt more than understood, creating work far more imagistic in its vision than specific. In the folds of my dances, I try to create portals into a viewer’s own life and experience, touching them and revealing questions to answer long after the dance is seen. This drives me to create work that revels in the essence of our shared humanity.