You get $VAR1 = ...; $VAR2 = ...; when you pass a list or an array to Dumper, and $VAR1 = [...] if you pass an array ref.
Just wondering in what case $VAR1 will not be showing at all?
There are two options: with Dump the second parameter specifies how the variable is named; so if you pass a second argument, there'll be now $VAR1.
The other option is to set the $Data::Dumper::Purity variable, as described in the documentation.
I personally just use print Dumper $somereference; (and yes, Useqq = 1), which gives the least ambiguous output.