Varone Bursts Out in Triumph
by Robert Gottlieb for The New York Observer
Meanwhile, as Ailey was packing them in at the City Center (for five weeks), down in Soho, at the tiny Ohio Theater, Doug Varone brought us the most interesting and moving work of this endless fall season. It’s called The Bottomland, and it’s set in a backwoods Kentucky community. The first part, "Songs That Tell a Story," is set to country music sung by the talented Patty Loveless; the second part, "As Told at Night, When the Air is a Different Color," is to an original score by Gaétan Leboeuf.
In Part I, the dancers perform against a video background that shows them in and around the imposing landscape of Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves. The movement onstage echoes rather than mirrors what’s happening on screen; we’re observing this community both up close and far away. At times, the video distracts from the dancing, yet it also deepens it by emphasizing that we are watching "real people" we recognize in a "real place" we can identify. The costumes look appropriately real, too, particularly the cheap, washed-out dresses—the kind that farm women used to order from the Sears-Roebuck catalog. click for more