Doug Varone and Dancers

Daniel Charon of Doug Varone and Dancers. Photo by Phil Knott
Daniel Charon of Doug Varone and Dancers.
Photo by Phil Knott

Year: 2013-2014
DanceForce Member: Nancy Long
Artists: Doug Varone and Dancers
Community Partners: Hamilton College, Mohawk Valley Dance Partnership, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute
Audience: 945
County: Oneida

The Doug Varone and Dancers project was an overall success. Two very successful master classes were taught by company members for college students and community dancers, an exhilarating school show for underserved elementary students took place, and a public performance by the company was very well received by the audience.

Michelle Reiser-Memmer and Nancy Long, the remaining members of the Mohawk Valley Dance Partnership, met regularly during the year to identify potential companies suitable for a half-week residency in the Utica area. Their goal is to provide a quality dance experience for audiences of all ages. As a teaching artist in the schools, Nancy Long conducted pre-performance workshops for all the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at Roberts Elementary School in Syracuse and with three grade levels of students at Notre Dame Elementary School in Utica.

Doug Varone and Dancers arrived in Utica on Thursday, January 23, 2014 to teach a master class for dancers at MWPAI. The class, taught by three company members, was the first opportunity for some of the dancers to attend a modern dance class. (Anecdotally: the teachers complemented one student who was then inspired to audition for, and was accepted, into the modern program of NYSSSA.)

The company then conducted spacing and lighting rehearsals in Wellin Hall of Hamilton College in preparation for the school show scheduled the next day. While there the company learned that one school had already been placed on a delay for the pending snow storm, making it impossible for them to attend. On Friday, January 24, 2014, the company performed for students from Notre Dame Elementary School and Watsom-Williams Elementary School–an inner city school with whom we have worked for many years. Following the performance, members of the company conducted a master class for a group of Hamilton College students.

Doug Varone and Dancers performed for the public in Wellin Hall on Saturday, January 25, 2015. Despite a terrific snow storm, the performance had a decent audience of approximately 250, made up of local dance families, college students and faculty and the general public. Attempts to include groups from the local refugee center, among others, were not successful because we would have needed to assist with busing for them as well. Michelle Reiser-Memmer at Hamilton College arranged for coverage in the local papers, radio and television (who came for the beginning of the school show).