|Xan Burley in Dome. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu|
The Joyce program leads off with Castles (2004), representative of Varone's essential style. It's marked by a matrix of pin spotlights (by Jane Cox and Joshua Epstein), at times reduced to light just the stage's perimeter. The lively, danceable music, Prokofiev's Waltz Suite, Opus 110, coaxes the mood from carnivalesque to martial to grandiose. The 3/4 tempo accommodates Varone's affinity for dropping weight into the ground. Xan Burley is particularly effective in this dance—lush, boneless, muscular.
|Doug Varone in The Fabulist. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu|
Dome, the group premiere, builds on the angular, fitful phrasing. To Christopher Rouse's strange, at times cyclonic Trombone Concerto, it feels emotionally dark (despite Jane Cox's golden lighting) and vaguely post-disaster. The dancers read as detached from one another, in contrast to their usual cohesiveness; they move robotically, bursting into a phrase, or freezing in arabesques or beaching themselves on the floor apathetically. Hsiao-Jou Tang captures the sense of resigned doom in her elegant, economical phrasing. In a flurry of brass instruments, the eight dancers finally trundle together, each raising an arm. Dome showed some fresh approaches from an established choreographer.