!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Trey McIntyre Project at Jacob's Pillow

Friday, August 22, 2008

Trey McIntyre Project at Jacob's Pillow

At age 39, Trey McIntyre has decided to make his Trey McIntyre Project a full-time dance company. Their debut was this week at Jacob's Pillow, where I caught their program this evening.

Dancers from the Trey McIntyre Project performing "Leatherwing Bat"
(Ben Rudick in the Boston Globe)

The program opened with "Surrender," which had its world premiere on Wednesday. This duet for Chanel DaSilva and Jason Hartley was set to "The Loco-Motion" performed by Grand Funk Railroad, "Dance of the Mirlitons" from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker," and John Lennon's "Real Love," performed by Regina Spektor. Aside from the clashing colors of the costumes (red white and blue for Hartley; purple, black, and pink for DaSilva), the dance was an impressive item. McIntyre has an unmistakable gift for inventing movement — for the whole body — that honors the music without overdoing things, e.g., by incorporating literal mimicry of lyrics. I would note that the ending, in which the man and woman get beyond initial tension to acknowledged love, was on the treacly side.

The second piece was a second world premiere (first presented Wednesday evening). "Leatherwing Bat" is named after one of the Peter, Paul and Mary songs to which the dance is performed. The other cuts McIntyre uses from the "Peter, Paul and Mommy" album are "I Have a Song to Sing, O!," "Day is Done," "Going to the Zoo," "Boa Constrictor," and "Puff (The Magic Dragon)." This piece too lived up to the hype McIntyre has enjoyed in recent years — the choreography was strikingly imaginative and fluid.

The final piece, "The Reassuring Effects (of Form and Poetry)," dates from 2003. Set to Dvořák's Serenade in E (Op. 22), it was surprisingly unsatisfying even though McIntyre's facility with gestures, lifts, and ensemble movement were much in evidence. The basic problem was the thinness of the movement McIntyre devised for his eight dancers' feet; his use of the available ballet vocabulary was quite limited.

All in all, my view of McIntyre's decision to try to make a go of running a full-time company is wholeheartedly positive. He needs to work on imbuing his work with more depth, but there is no gainsaying his high degree of skill in crafting musically grounded and visually engaging movement.