Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 23, 2008

Trey McIntrye Project

Jacob's Pillow, Becket
August 23
by Colleen Moynihan

What makes an artistic endeavor great, enjoyable or memorable? In dance is it the choreography, the personality of the dancers, the marriage of music, form and energy? Jacob's Pillow ended its 2008 season with a new dance ensemble, the Trey McIntrye Project, that absolutely delighted the audience on every level.

Artistic director/choreographer McIntrye has been recognized as an innovative choreographer since 1989. His troupe combines the discipline of classical ballet and the energy of modern dance.

The program opened with a quiet, tender piece, "Surrender," a world premiere. The dancers captured the audience with an engaging interpretation of 60's music by Carole King and John Lennon interspersed with Tschaikovsky's "Dance of the Mirlitons". It was easy to follow, pleasant to view; athletic but simple.

Another premiere, "Leatherwing Bat," featured John Michael Schert, the image of American youth. His ability to move in space around the other dancers while containing himself without any rigidity was compelling to watch and added depth to the story.

The unique style of the Project lies in its use of intricate interlocking body movements that lead to subtle interpretations of space -- vertical, horizontal or within the personal realm of self. Their closing piece demonstrated this skill by seamlessly combining the elements of classical ballet and modern dance. Four women were on point; four men executed their roles in vibrant modern dance tradition. The result was a mix of physical dynamism and restraint that was elegant, energetic, playful and sensuous. Dvorak's "Serenade in E, Op22" sounded ever so sublime augmented by the visual interpretation of the dancers, also providing a rollicking background to the ensemble's effective play on form through body movement and varying spatial effects.

The troupe's strength is in its modern dance elements: athletic energy and control. The classical ballet movements are safe and correct but lack the stretch, height or stamina associated with electrifying ballet. McIntrye's integration of the two dance forms increases the interpretation opportunities and delights the viewer with the results.