They say everyone has one novel in him. It’s the fruit of a life’s experience—the tale, the feelings. John Ollom certainly does, but he happens to be a choreographer. The Journey, which claims to be autobiographical, details the progress of a marginalized person, specifically a bisexual man, through agonizing conflict as a husband yearning for a male lover; experiment at the violent and ugly extremes of gay life; depression that brings him to the brink of suicide; and, eventually, salvation in the form of celebrating the unique self and the beauty of human differences. The last phase is as mawkish as it sounds, involving a bunch of children and adolescents who, apparently, got to watch the graphic rape scenes in the clubs and bathhouses. The rest of the show is propelled by Ollom’s sincerity and missionary zeal. The real problem is that classical ballet, Ollom’s native language, is a peculiar vehicle for the events he wants to describe. Antony Tudor brought off a similar feat in Undertow, but he had to call in the Greek gods.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 11, 2004