My STEP Experience: Attending the Doug Varone and Dancers Winter Workshop

IMG_3667For my STEP Signature Project I attended the Doug Varone and Dancers Winter Workshop in Boston, MA at The Boston Conservatory. At the one-week long workshop I took Varone technique classes with all of the company members, learned choreography from their current repertory, took dance composition classes with Doug Varone himself, and watched the company perform their current works in an intimate studio setting.

During this workshop, I made a transformation from primarily being a performer to becoming both a dancer and choreographer. As a dance major and someone who has performed all of my life, I’ve always seen myself primarily as a performer. It wasn’t until attending this workshop and taking dance composition classes with Varone that I started to also view myself as a choreographer.

In his composition classes, Varone shared the choreographic devices that he uses to create his work. His choreographic process places emphasis on intuition and play, which I found as a very conductive atmosphere for my own creative process to thrive. My experience working with Varone and his dancers in this class has changed my entire understanding of my own choreographic process and I left this workshop with newfound confidence in my ability as a director and choreographer. This understanding and confidence will aid me in my future as a dancer, choreographer, and rehearsal assistant – all roles that I am interested in pursuing upon my graduation.

My initial interest in Varone technique sparked from my experiences within the OSU Department of Dance. I recently took my first semester of Varone technique and performed a piece of Varone repertory in Dance Downtown. My interest in Varone technique is what led me to the workshop and fueled my desire to dig deeper into the technique.

IMG_3676During my time at the workshop I found how comfortable and at home my body feels within this technique and how satisfying the movement feels in my body. The daily technique classes transformed me into a dancer that has a deeper bodily understanding of Varone technique and its aesthetic, as well as more clearly understanding my own movement aesthetic. This understanding has stuck with me ever since and has aided me in my continued growth in the OSU Department of Dance this past semester. And I believe that this understanding will continue to aid me in my growth beyond OSU.

Through my experience with this workshop I have redefined and clarified my desires for my future upon graduation. I have always been interested in performing and traveling with a dance company based off of my previous experiences within the OSU Department of Dance. Working intimately and socially interacting with Varone and Dancers has expanded and transformed my view of company life. Much of what I learned about company life from the dancers supports the knowledge that I already had; however, I gained new information that deepened my desire to experience this life. I’m thankful for this experience because it has reinforced my hopes for my future as a professional dancer.

To learn more about my STEP Experience and my experience as a Dance Major at OSU: https://heidimurr.wordpress.com

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