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A Day with Trey McIntyre


9:00 a.m.—Dressed in a gray T-shirt and khaki shorts, his hair still shower damp, McIntyre stands at a counter in the very modern kitchen of the newly remodeled North End home he shares with John Michael Schert. He finishes what will be the first of two or three bottles of Kombucha—a fermented sweet tea that contains yeast and bacteria—he'll drink during the course of the day. McIntyre grabs his backpack and a brown paper Boise Co-op bag containing chicken salad, crackers, more Kombucha and a few Clif energy bars. He steps outside to put on a very big pair of white tennis shoes (they don't allow shoes to be worn inside the house) and heads for rehearsal at the Eagle Performing Arts Center, where the dance company practices six days a week when it's not touring.

9:15 a.m.—McIntyre sees two men in wheelchairs and one with a cane crossing State Street against a light. Entranced by the tableau, he grabs the Boise Weekly camera and asks that the car be turned around so he can get a photo.

9:30 a.m.—McIntyre stops for citrus tea at Rembrandt's in Eagle. He says hi to two of his dancers who are there, also filling up on the day's caffeine.

10:00 a.m.—Inside the large rehearsal room, McIntyre readies to teach a class that is part of his company's community education outreach program. The members of his company are in attendance, as well as a handful of dance students of varying ages and with varying degrees of experience. The dancers take the class not to learn new steps, but as a kind of continual refresher.

11:30 a.m.—Class over, the students leave and the dancers take a short break. Some stretch, some step outside to smoke, some chat with each other in the hallway. McIntyre posts a sheet on the door to the rehearsal room with the day's schedule showing when each of the three pieces that make up the program will be rehearsed and what time they'll break for lunch.

11:45 a.m.—Rehearsal begins with McIntyre's new pas de deux, "Surrender," which features dancers Chanel DaSilva and Jason Hartley. They check themselves in the room-length mirror, but not to pat down a stray hair or reposition a T-shirt. They check the lines of their bodies, straightening some, bending others. Even just walking across the floor, they're as graceful as gazelles, as powerful as bull moose. McIntyre sits opposite the mirror, his gaze on DaSilva and Hartley intense, broken only briefly when he glances down to scribble notes on a white legal pad. The stereo system blasts out the accompanying music, refrains from "Locomotion," Regina Spektor's breathtaking cover of the Beatles' "Real Love" and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Mirlitons." The well-muscled and evenly matched DaSilva and Hartley move around and with each other in an ebbing and flowing swirl, each one interpreting McIntyre's contemporary ballet-infused choreography in their legs and arms, their own expression of the moves written with their eyes and across their foreheads. The mood in the room shifts, the weight coming more from the concentration on the dancers' faces and McIntyre's immersion in the moment than from the over 100 degree humidity-laced weather outside.

12:10 p.m.—The run-through finished, McIntyre gives the dancers notes, referring to his pad as he refines and reinforces moves. DaSilva discusses her costume with McIntyre. She asks if the pink '50s-style skirt she has donned for rehearsal is similar to the one she will wear onstage. It's an integral part of the performance and it's important that in the sections of the piece when she pulls or tugs on the hem, she knows right where the skirt will fall. Most of the dancers file out, and DaSilva and Hartley are joined by Dylan G-Bowley and Ashley Werhun. As part of what McIntyre refers to as "company culture," DaSilva and Hartley are tasked with teaching the choreography of the piece to G-Bowley and Werhun who will serve as understudies. McIntyre explains that by instructing and being instructed by their peers, the dancers feel accountable not just to the boss, but to each other.

12:45 p.m.—The four dancers take a break. A couple of dancers approach McIntyre about time off. During the 35-week rehearsal, tour and performance schedule they adhere to, they will at times have only one day off a week, sometimes two. If it's just one day, they'd like it to be a weekday so that they can take care of everyday errands: doctor's appointments, trips to the bank and motor vehicle department, dropping off the rent. McIntyre jots a note of the request on his legal pad, promising to put it on the table at that day's staff meeting.

1:10 p.m.—The music of Antonin Dvorak pours into the room and Lia Cirio, Virginia Pilgrim, Annali Rose, Werhun, John Michael Schert, Hartley, Brett Perry and G-Bowley rehearse "The Reassuring Effects (of Form and Poetry)" or "REFAP," a dance McIntyre created in 2003. To the uninitiated eye, this piece looks far more ballet than "Surrender," but McIntyre's signature choreography is stamped all over it. He has an ear not just for the notes in a song or symphony, but for the white spaces as well. His choreography puts dancers in, among and between the notes, each dance a combination of classic and organic movements.

2:00 p.m.—The dancers are released for lunch, and McIntyre and Schert join the administrative personnel in a back room of the center for a staff meeting, a reminder that TMP is not just about the art of dance, it is also a business. McIntyre and Schert eat lunch while the group discusses purchasing a permanent rehearsal space. Also on the agenda is information regarding the upcoming invitation-only dress rehearsal at the Boise State Special Events Center; dancer policies (such as time off); handling e-mail and phone calls; lighting and costuming for the show; fundraising; the Aug. 20 premiere at Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Mass.; an upcoming media day at Boise State; the Sept. 20 performance at the Morrison Center and more. The staff includes managers, directors, coordinators and supervisors, and McIntyre speaks little during the meeting, letting each person cover his or her area of expertise, interjecting only when asked a direct question or when an executive decision needs to be made.

3:10 p.m.—The administrative staff heads back to the Boise office. Rehearsal reconvenes with "Leatherwing Bat," the third piece in the trio. "Leatherwing Bat" is a new piece McIntyre created to the music of Peter, Paul and Mary. Cirio, Pilgrim, Rose, G-Bowley, Perry and Schert move solemnly and exuberantly to "I'm Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor," "Going to the Zoo" and "Puff The Magic Dragon" among others. Schert—who moves with a dancer's grace even off the rehearsal floor—is tall, sculpted, pale and in this piece, appears as a father figure in a visually compelling dichotomy to the lithe, tan, blond Perry. The movements are provocative and, especially in light of the dancers' facial expressions, it's a highly emotive piece. McIntyre again sits on the floor, his back against a wall, his own face blank.

3:40 p.m.—McIntyre runs through his notes with dancers, flipping through several pages in his pad. He's not completely satisfied with a section in which Perry lays across the dancers' arms as they jump backward. He has them run through it a handful of times, their movements becoming increasingly more precise, sweat pooling across their faces, necks and leotards.

4:00 p.m.—The dancers break again and McIntyre sits down to explain that both "Surrender" and "Leatherwing Bat" deal with recent important changes in his life. He says that, as a child, the music of Peter, Paul and Mary resonated with him. He called Peter Yarrow for permission to use their music and found both a kindred spirit and a new friend in the folk musician, lending even more depth to the personal statement in "Leatherwing."

4:15 p.m.—The dancers are left to workshop on their own, and breaking into small groups, they find quiet spaces around the center to rehearse. McIntyre wanders about answering questions until he dismisses the dancers sometime after 5 p.m. Once the work day is over, McIntyre explains that later, he will probably face yet another sleepless night in his latest bout of insomnia, a problem not likely to go away soon. He's taken some enormous personal and professional chances: moving to Boise from San Francisco, where dance companies like his are far more common; forming a permanent year-round resident company; paring back on the amount of freelance choreographing he will do. All of these are things he considers "grown-up." As he waves goodbye from the door of the center, he is a man at the fulcrum of a turning point in his life, taking great risks that seem to be leading him down a path full of equally great rewards.