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AUDIENCE REVIEW: Dances for a Variable Population presents "Revival 8: Then & Now"

Dances for a Variable Population presents "Revival 8: Then & Now"

Dances for a Variable Population

Performance Date:

Freeform Review:

With energy bursting through the seams, Dances for a Variable Population’s Revival 8: Then & Now was a vibrant, lively production that left audiences longing for more. 

The performance had eight distinct pieces, each one featuring different groups of performers, each with their own unique style and take on this jubilant production. Each individual pieces varied greatly in style, with some that were calmly mesmerizing, such as a fantastic solo piece by Naomi Goldberg Haas, and others more upbeat and exuberant, like the preceding piece performed to “Rocka My Soul/In the Bosom of Abraham”, each piece was passionately engaging, with various strong port de bras movements that seemed to echo each other throughout the performance, creating a sense of past and present, or Then & Now, that exists even within the performance itself. 

The Grant’s Tomb location provides its own unique challenges in the form of a wide-open space surrounded by a park on all sides. In such an expanse, it can be easy for an individual to be swallowed up in the space. However, the ensemble work of the DVP team allowed the entire cast to shine, both individually and as groups, by making use of the wide expanse. This setting, the final resting place of an American President and Union General, began this idea of Then & Now, by bringing present-day audiences into a site of historical significance. 

The costuming contributed to the feelings of liveliness, with colorful pieces throughout. The blues and pinks and yellows the dancers wore complimented the greenery of the space while simultaneously standing out against the granite structure behind them. This design choice emphasized the more dramatic movements, making stretches and thrusts more vibrant than before.

The idea of Then & Now was most present in the musical selections. With classical opera styles, such as “Habanera/Toreador” from Bizet’s Carmen, alongside more contemporary favorites, such as “Everybody Dance Now!” by C+C Music Factory, the song selection evoked feelings of familiarity and nostalgia, as well as excitement from the audience. 

Audience engagement stands out to me as a consistent strength of any DVP production, and this performance was no exception. Notably, at different moments, dancers would gather in a semi-circle onstage, with the audience completing the circle. This special attention to inclusion draws in audience members, leaving many asking afterwards, “how can I get involved?”

Julia Betancourt


Photo Credit:
Meg Goldman

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