The rise of Trey McIntyre Project to the pantheon of great dance companies has been swift and stunning. The winning program they performed last evening at Jacob’s Pillow proves that their success is no accident, there is more creativity in any one of McIntyre’s bounce and tumble pieces than an audience has the right to expect in a single program. The work is more than creative and entertaining, it is simply stunning.
His dance is designed for the new generation coming up, with the frenetic pace of his work echoing the multi-level intensity of a video game like Mortal Combat. It may make the heads of us old-timers spin, but with a wonder that infuses us with some of the energy on stage. Given the depth of creativity, there is no doubt we are watching the next Anthony Tudor or Mark Morris, albeit still a bit rough around the edges in terms of narrative content.
There were three pieces on the program, each with its own focus and style. Arrantza is a piece that celebrates the Basque people from northeastern Spain on the Bay of Biscay. Arrantza in Basque means fishing, and they people this piece, as well as their authentic instruments such as the txistu, alboka and accordian. McIntyre began with the basic dance steps of the historic culture and built on them. It opened with the company shrouded in rough woven costumes, soon discarded and replaced with simpler present day blue and black costumes. From the moment she first set foot on stage, Chanel DaSilva stood out, and throughout the evening, the audience used their eyes to eat up every moment she was on stage. Another member of the company, Brett Perry, also shone. Just a few days ago it was announced that he had won the 2010 Princess Grace Award.
Singling out dancers in this company is somewhat unfair, since they are all spectacular. And they all pretty much had their own special moments on stage. It is clear that McIntryre the choreographer allows the dancer equal access to all the fun moves. In the second piece, (serious) we saw some of the equal opportunity partnering, and sharing of the spotlight moments. Drawing from the ballet vocabulary we recognized the source of his genius in the arabesques and pas de chats that were adapted for a far more inventive experience. In fact watching much of the work on stage reminded me of a game of billiards in that each new combination produced a different result, and would ultimately set up the one to follow. The rush of steps was such that one hardly dared blink for fear of missing something.
It was in the the final piece of the program that the company’s unusual style had its epiphany. Creating a full ballet work set to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March is daring and turned out to be absolutely delightful. In Wild Sweet Love a potential bride (the phenomenal Ilana Goldman) watches a parade of marriages fly by as a large cast of community dancers joined the company for this spectacular work. With music by such pop groups as The Partridge Family, Freddy Mercury and Queen, the dancers broke off into couples, trios and lines of observers, bouncing off of each other, the floor (and ceiling had there been one!) as they sometimes danced, sometimes ran to and from each other, in an inventive succession of episodic mini stories.
By the end of the evening the audience was on its feet, absolutely blown away not only by the incredibly creative works created by Trey McIntyre, but also the enormous skill and prowess of the dancers who are part of the company, every one of them a winner in the contest for perfection.
Trey McIntyre Project dancers include Chanel DaSilva, Lauren Edson, Ilana Goldman, Annali Rose, Ashley Werhun, Dylan G-Bowley, Jason Hartley, Brett Perry, John Michael Schert and Gabriel Williams. The Company was founded in 2005 and has been a full time company since 2008. They make Boise, Idaho their home base.
Trey McIntyre Project appears at Jacob’s Pillow from August 4-8, 2010. For more information and tickets go to www.jacobspillow.org or call 413-243-0745. Jacob’s Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, MA