Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dance review: Trey McIntyre Project spectacular at Duncan

The Trey McIntyre Project in Ma Maison.

By Tara Mitton Catao

The Trey McIntyre Project reinvented itself‭ ‬Friday night with an evening of fabulous dancing to the‭ ‬music of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Roy Orbison.

What made the high-speed and energetic dancing in Friday‭’‬s performance at‭ ‬the Duncan Theatre in Lake Worth so engaging is something subtle and quiet.‭ ‬Perhaps it‭’‬s all captured in the word‭ ‬“project‭”‬:‭ ‬This‭ ‬company does not call itself a company,‭ ‬but a project.‭ ‬It‭’‬s‭ ‬a long-term,‭ ‬dedicated undertaking to developing the artistry of the performers and choreographer Trey McIntyre.

The breeding ground for this artistic project for the last two years has been in Boise,‭ ‬Idaho,‭ ‬where the team works long and hard to perfect the dances that will tour.‭ ‬But‭ ‬when they are onstage,‭ ‬things really synthesize.‭ ‬You can feel the project‭’‬s collective freshness as they hit every movement nuance with verve and passion,‭ ‬and you can appreciate‭ ‬McIntyre‭’‬s outstanding talent as a choreographer.‭

The‭ ‬music of New Orleans is the source and inspiration for‭ ‬the first and last works on the program.‭ ‬McIntyre choreographed Ma Maison‭ ‬in‭ ‬2008‭ ‬and last week premiered his second commission for the New Orleans Ballet Association,‭ ‬The Sweeter End,‭ ‬at the Mahalia Jackson Theater with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing live.‭

Ma Maison is a ghoulish but lighthearted celebration of death and life in Mardi Gras‭ ‬style and with a quirky flair.‭ ‬With a deceivingly unstructured look that is highly choreographed,‭ ‬the expertly executed,‭ ‬fast-paced movement literally danced around the sparse notes of the music in the funeral marches.‭ ‬The wonderfully zany costumes were worn with a full skeleton mask that completely hid the face so that the body and movement quality of the dancers were accentuated.

Chanel DaSilva gave a‭ ‬strong performance‭ ‬of clarity and sheer energy.‭ ‬An upbeat ensemble section included a polished duet with DaSilva and her pirate harlequinade partner Brett Perry,‭ ‬as well as a striking moving tableau of street‭ ‬-fair revelry.‭ ‬Ilana Goldman and Annali Rose also gave strong performances.‭ ‬The tall John Michael Schert had amazingly fluidity in his movement and has beautiful legs and feet.

The second work was a premiere by the Project that originally‭ ‬was‭ ‬choreographed by McIntyre for Ballet Memphis in‭ ‬2007.‭ ‬In Dreams is an outstanding work set to a collection‭ ‬of Roy Orbison songs and it‭ ‬nicely balanced the program.‭ ‬A quintet,‭ ‬performed on pointe by the ladies,‭ ‬was a never-ending combination of unusual gliding steps and grounded skips.‭ ‬In one beautiful section,‭ ‬surprise lifts evolved out of a string of five dancers working their way across the stage.‭

Lauren Edson was spectacular in her solo,‭ ‬and in‭ ‬the stop-and-start duet with Dylan G-Bowley,‭ ‬a terrific partner.‭

The last work,‭ ‬The Sweeter End,‭ ‬took another look at New Orleans but this time in a more urban post-Katrina view though it still pulled from the city‭’‬s heyday,‭ ‬interspersing some period costumes and movement motifs from the Charleston.‭ ‬It began with DaSilva as a graffiti artist throwing herself into athletic lifts with three men.‭

Perry was simply amazing,‭ ‬Rose was beautiful,‭ ‬and Jason Hartley‭’‬s solo was striking.‭ ‬Schert looked like he didn‭’‬t have a bone in his body,‭ ‬and Ashley Werhun‭’‬s duet with Perry was excellent.‭ ‬Every dancer had his or her‭ ‬moment to move and each one moved so differently,‭ ‬like‭ ‬one musician after another highlighting their instruments by improvising during a jazz performance.‭ ‬It looked totally spontaneous,‭ ‬but was precise and technical.‭

Like Ma Maison,‭ ‬The Sweeter End finished with a series of choreographed bows that delighted the audience.‭ ‬McIntyre then surprised them with an ensemble encore before the curtain closed on the party,‭ ‬where by now we all wished we‭ ‬were.

The Trey McIntyre Project‭repeats this program tonight at the Duncan Theatre on the campus of Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth.‭ ‬Tickets for the‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬concert are‭ ‬$37.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬868-3309‭ ‬or visit

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