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uwws: trey mcintyre project, 3/18–3/20


March 18–20
UW World Series hosts the Seattle debut of TMP. Sigh…the same weekend as PNB’s 3 by Dove and locust’s party and Karin Stevens show. It’s a good weekend to support the arts!
TMP’s Ilana Goldman in Idaho (photo by David Harry Stewart)
on the program • found videos • found articles • new: review

By Leslie Holleran

TMP Makes Positive First Impression on Seattle
Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) made its Seattle debut this past weekend.  Judging by the standing ovation the company received on Saturday night at the University of Washington’s Meany Hall, this Boise-based dance company made a positive first impression here and would be welcomed back.
The company’s nine dancers, four men and five women, presented four pieces by choreographer Trey McIntyre.  (McIntyre was a ballet dancer and danced with Houston Ballet before turning his focus to choreography 15 years ago.)  These pieces included one company premiere, “Wild Sweet Love,” originally made for the Sacramento Ballet in 2007, and Ten Pin Episodes,” which TMP premiered in Boise last month.
The first half of the program began with a short, light-hearted piece called “Shape” and continued with “Ten Pin Episodes, in which dancing with bowling pins was a serious endeavor.  In “Shape,” three dancers, two women and a man, contend with five red balloons.  The first dancer to take the stage wears two of these balloons under her shirt, giving her a hugely enlarged bosom.  However, she doesn’t allow her disfigured shape to get in her way as she dances like a sprite across the stage.  The other female dancer carries her two balloons in her hands and maneuvers them to complement the movements of the rest of her body.  As she leaps, she extends the balloons above her head.  At other times, she maneuvers them to fill the space under her arms.  The male dancer wears his balloon on his head like a clown.  The piece ends with the first dancer removing her balloons from under her shirt and releasing them into the air.  She’s freed herself of her distorted shape.
There were several great and beautiful moments in “Ten Pin Episodes,” including some of the male/female partnering.  However, the central concept of the piece — creating relationships between dancers and bowling pins — was one I questioned and questioned.  I ultimately decided that one needs a more compelling reason for choosing a particular prop.
The second half of the program began with (serious).  In this piece set to music by Henry Cowell, three dancers, one female and two male, have a single purpose that links them inextricably together.  Near the end of the piece, the dancers stand on the perimeter of a circle of light near the front and center of the stage.  One of the men ejects himself from the trio, but not for long.  His partners quickly bring him back into the fold.  They intend to be a cohesive unit in their “serious” pursuit.  (After seeing the piece, I watched the Vimeo video included on the blog about the making of serious eager to better understand what inspired McIntyre to create this abstract work.  There he explains that (serious) is an exploration of the array of meaning contained in a single word.)
The last piece on the program, “Wild Sweet Love,” evoked the array of emotion that love can cause through a series of six vignettes accompanied by an eclectic mix of music.  The female dancers were dressed as brides wearing long tulle skirts and long white gloves.  Their grooms wore short white unitards. The central figure of the piece was a bride who lacked a groom.  Her pained expression indicated her dismayHad she been jilted?  Even so, her feelings couldn’t halt the celebration, which included: three couples dancing exuberant duets to Felix Mendelssohn’s famous Wedding March; a slow, beautifully partnered duet by one couple to Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”; and some dancing out of American Bandstand by another couple to The Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You.  Freddie Mercury’s rock song “Somebody to Love,performed by Queen, was the accompaniment for the final vignette which featured an ecstatic solo by the groomless bride.  The piece revealed love to be wild and sweet for some, but not all.

Here’s what TMP said they’re bringing to Seattle:
Ten Pin Episodes
Wild Sweet Love
 (Photo courtesy of UW World Series, from their marketing e-mail)

(from YouTube)

White Bird (in Portland) commissioned the piece.
(From Vimeo )

Milwaukee: the Journal Sentinel review from March 10
New York: NYT review from June 2009 (by Gia Kourlas)
Why he settled in Boise: NYT article (by Claudia LaRocco) 
“Hottest Choreographer”: Boston Globe article, 2005 (by Karen Campbell)