ACT II: A closer look at area stages — The Trey McIntyre Project
By HEDY WEISS DANCE CRITIC firstname.lastname@example.org November 21, 2012 6:18PM
Trey McIntyre's “Ladies” and “Gentle Men” was inspired by the 1970s’ “Free to Be, You and Me” original record, book and TV special.
Updated: December 26, 2012 6:10AM
Boise, Idaho, might not be the first place you’d expect to find a top-notch contemporary dance company whose artistic director has earned high marks as a choreographer of 90 works for both his own widely traveled troupe, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the New York City Ballet.
But in 2008, after three years as a summer touring company that debuted at the Vail International Dance Festival, the Trey McIntyre Project was established as a year-round entity. And, as McIntyre put it, “I also had the luxury of deciding where I wanted to live. Many voices said ‘New York,’ but I had a hard time finding a compelling reason to put another company in an already very well-served place. And I liked the notion of being a pioneer. We’d performed in Boise for three years. And it has a gorgeous 2,000-seat opera house we can fill.”
The Trey McIntyre Project makes its Chicago debut at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, this week (Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 1 at 2 p.m., plus a special “Eat to the Beat” program at noon Nov. 30). It will feature three works by the Kansas-bred McIntyre, who is noted for the athleticism, wit and accessibility of his choreography. Here’s how he describes them:
“The Unkindness of Ravens”: “In 2012 we toured the Philippines, Vietnam, China and South Korea as part of a State Department program. I subsequently chose three dancers from the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company to work with my dancers on a piece that would acknowledge our cross-cultural exploration without making any big, sweeping statements. I discovered that the folklore about ravens was similar in both cultures. Ravens are scrappy birds and one of the few creatures in addition to humans with a sense of humor. The score is a mix, but part of it is a looped recording of Korean moms praying at a Buddhist temple for their kids to do well on school entrance exams.”
“Bad Winter”: “This solo and a duet emerged from a tough period in my personal life that involved epic changes. I opened rehearsals so people could watch me choreographing.”
“Ladies” and “Gentle Men”: “Though inspired by the 1970s’ ‘Free to Be, You and Me,’ this piece is not a literal rendering of the original record, book and TV special. It’s my interpretation of how the songs and stories made me feel as a child, and how I feel about them now as I look back and assess their influence on me.”
For tickets, call (312) 334-7777 or visit harristheaterchicago.org.