As we continue to enjoy the changing of the seasons in 2011 and welcome the warmer weather, one group of people will be embracing this change through dance. Dances For A Variable Population (or DVP) is a dancing company headed by choreographer Naomi Goldberg Haas. As the name implies, DVP is a group that knows no boundaries when it comes to the gender, race, or age of its members. Polished dancers and enthusiastic amateurs grace the stage together, led by Haas, orchestrating performances in contemporary dance.

This week, starting on Wednesday June 22nd and running until Saturday June 25th, DVP will be performing in the newly renovated Washington Square Park, located downtown in Greenwich Village at the base of  5th Avenue. The eastern side of the park had been closed since late 2007 because of a continuing restoration project, but was re-opened June 2nd of this year. The re-opening was delayed as the eastern end renovations were originally supposed to be finished by Fall 2010.


DVP performing "Autumn Crossing" in September 2010

In any case, DVP welcomes the changes the park has undergone and will have this sentiment on full display throughout the week as they stage their performances on the re-opened eastern side of Washington Square Park. Each day’s performance will begin at 6:30 P.M. with a pre-show beginning at 6:00, occurring throughout the entire park. Any and all can come view their performance free of charge.

The free shows will consist of a dance ensemble performed to remixes of “In C”, the well-known Terry Riley composition of 1964. Those who are familiar with “In C” know how shocking it was when first composed, since the nature of the composition leaves much to chance, making any given performance of the piece different from every other. The composition’s improvisational nature should make DVP’s remixed interpretation and their accompanying dance arrangement distinctive, surprising, and an exciting performance to see in person.

Most unique about this performance, however, will be DVP themselves. Since DVP as a group does not restrict participation to pros, their corps of dancers is composed of New Yorkers from all walks of life. The group’s ethos is best articulated on Haas’ website, which states that DVP consists of everyone from “children who think dance is only on MTV, to persons with disabilities who think dance is denied them, to seniors who think dance is beyond them.” More information about Naomi Goldberg Haas, DVP and the events and classes that they organize can be found at www.naomigoldberghaas.com.

–Christopher Cusack, Hofstra University

Photo Credit: David Kimelman

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