Review of Joyce 2004

by Celia Ipiotis

February 7, 2004

Doug Varone and Dancers delivered a fully satisfying program at the Joyce Theater on Saturday afternoon. Composed of three pieces, "Castles" (world premiere), "The Bottomland" (seen originally at Soho Rep in 2002) and "Rise" created in 1993 to John Adams’ score "Fearful Symmetries." This was an example of excellent, balanced programming.

Set to music by Serge Prokofiev, "Castles" evokes romance and memories that float with the delicate and complex visual descriptions issued by his dancers. Creamy knee bends ripple into ebbs and eddies of motion as couples connect and then filter back into the sweep of humanity.

Appalachian life, with its early deaths and courageous residents fills "The Bottomland." Dressed in simple outfits that might have come out of Huckleberry Finn, this piece captures the humanity and hope of a hard working people with warmth and down home dancing. Set in Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves and with a soundtrack by Patty Loveless, a projected film serves as a counterpoint and mirror to the staged action. This is one of the most effective combinations of projected film and dance that I have ever seen.

The final piece "Rise" tosses turbulent movements into Adam’s dynamic music which nods to the dark mysteries embedded in Stravinsky’s "Le Sacre du Printemps."

The dancers throw themselves heartily into every piece where physicality is romanced with a distinctly Varone imprint.

Sunday is the final day, and if you have not already made plans for the day, make them for an encounter with Doug Varone and Dancers.