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The Reviews Are In


On Aug. 20, the Trey McIntyre Project performed the world premiere of their new program at Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Mass. The program included one piece choreographer Trey McIntyre created in 2003, "The Reassuring Effects of (Form and Poetry)" with music by Antonin Dvorak and two brand new pieces: "Surrender," which features music from Grand Funk Railroad, Regina Spektor and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky; and "Leatherwing Bat" set to the folk music of Peter, Paul and Mary. The new works are reflections on major changes in McIntyre's life, including his move to take the company to full-time status and moving it—and himself—to Boise. Some of the stress associated with a premiere may have been alleviated after the release of reviews from the Boston Globe and The New York Times.

Times writer Roslyn Sulcas touches on McIntyre's predecessors, writing that she sees "some obvious influences: Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins and William Forsythe, whose sharp allegro footwork and pulled-back shoulders and arms permeate quite a bit of the choreography."

She writes that McIntyre's work is seldom "wholly personal" but suggests it may be that detachment that makes his work attractive. "What is new is almost by definition disorienting and difficult to see at first. Mr. McIntyre's choreography rarely contains such challenges, but when it does it offers a glimpse of what might make him great rather than good."

Sulcas describes "Leatherwing Bat" as a piece "which beautifully straddles the line between the whimsical and the poignant" and John Michael Schert as a "beautiful dancer of Apollonian proportions and elegance." She finds "Surrender" "less successful," and "REFAP" a "bright and playful manifestation of contemporary ballet prowess." Sulcas is complimentary of McIntyre's musicality, however, she says "he does at several moments evoke a lovely sense of mystery in his slow revolving groupings and occasionally cryptic gestures. But not often enough. 'The Reassuring Effects' is perhaps a little too reassuring; Mr. McIntyre is capable of making us work harder."

Janine Parker, a correspondent for the Boston Globe, said TMP's opening performance "felt like finding a shiny new penny—lucky and hopeful." She writes that McIntyre has a "preference for walking on the sunny side of the street" and that his work tends to have "too much surface and not enough substance," but in the case of this premiere, "there's enough bite and edge to keep the program's three dances from simply evaporating without leaving an afterimage."

Parker finds "Surrender" a "wonderfully goofy dance" and writes that "Leatherwing Bat" "is infused with optimistic camaraderie."

"'REFAP,'" she writes, "is one of those great dances—like Bill T. Jones's 'D-Man in the Waters' and Mark Morris's 'L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato'—whose contemporary movement reinvigorates a piece of classical music" and refers to McIntyre's choreography as "magically seamless."

—Amy Atkins

Find the full reviews online at and