Doug Varone & Dancers, Ririe-Woodbury, and the School of Dance perform at the Marriott Center for Dance

16 February 2018 Published in News and Announcements

The School of Dance Students, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, and Doug Varone & Dancers will perform Doug Varone’s powerful choreographic work, entitled in the shelter of the fold, February 23 and 24. Award-winning choreographer and director Doug Varone’s work is known for its emotional range, kinetic breadth and the diversity of genres in which he works. Along with dancers from the U’s School of Dance, Varone’s acclaimed company will perform this intensely intimate new work, exploring the questioning inherent in faith. The evening will also feature a guest performance by Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, whose artistic director Daniel Charon danced in Varone’s company for ten seasons.

Dancers from the School of Dance will perform mass as part of in the shelter of the fold, while Ririe-Woodbury Dancers will present a separate piece called Strict Love choreographed by Varone in 1993. Guest Teacher from Doug Varone & Dancers, Natalie Desch, has been working to reconstruct mass with the 12 student performers. Desch worked in Varone’s New York City based company for 11 seasons. “Spending a generous amount of time working closely with Doug has given me an understanding of the physical vocabulary he uses for communicating” Desch says. “And though Doug tells stories and creates worlds with great variety, I believe his humanist tendencies run like aesthetic threads through each of his works. I try to honor those philosophies in the studio in the moments of sharing the work.”

In the shelter of the fold premiered in the fall of 2016 at SUNY Purchase. When asked to describe the piece, Natalie says “Wow! Complex and breath-taking and awe-inspiring, I would describe the piece as a series of energetic poems addressing different aspects of faith and belief––whether from the individual’s perspective, from those in relationships, or from the larger community’s experience. What I remember from those rehearsals and informal showings was a riveting sense of communication through ritual, testimonial, questioning, and listening.”

Working with professional dancers is a valuable part of a dancer’s education, according to Desch.  “There is no better time to combine a student’s rigorous training with real-life examples from individuals who have successfully put those practices into play and are further honing their crafts. More than simply being a display of talents, I believe these one-on-one experiences display work ethics that fundamentally support the excellence that is paramount in this field.”

Don’t miss Doug Varone & Dancers, Ririe-Woodbury, and the School of Dance's performance,  February 23 & 24 at 7:30pm at the Marriott Center for Dance | Tickets @