Last Friday night, Boise-based Trey McIntyre Project performed the second of a two-night run at the new outdoor Sun Valley Pavilion. It was the company's first time performing at the pavilion, and the first dance program for the amphitheater. The combination of dance and al fresco environment was stunning and hopefully set the stage for more of the same for both the pavilion and TMP.
The program opened with Ma Maison, followed by (serious), followed by the world premiere of Shape, and then closed with the Western premiere of The Sun Road, a multimedia production McIntyre created in Glacier National Park, Mont., for the Wolf Trap Foundation.
As Shape opened, several of the roughly 800 attendees at Friday night's performance gasped when the lights came up on TMP newcomer Lauren Edson standing in a flesh-tone T-shirt stretched to capacity by two huge, overfilled red balloons stuffed down the front. Company artistic director Trey McIntyre said the idea for the seven-minute dance found purchase in the lyrics of a solemn Goldfrapp song, which opens the piece.
"I had really fallen in love with the song 'Clowns.' The lyrics, to me, are about someone talking someone else out of breast implants. I started thinking about that: 'Only clowns / would play with those balloons. /... What do you want to look like Barbie for?'"
The image of the Barbie shape began to crystallize in McIntyre's mind, an absurd shape that in no way conforms to a dancer's figure. That absurdity was also reflected in the other two members of the trio, returning dancers Dylan G-Bowley and Annali Rose. G-Bowley--whose performances showed a new strength and sense of confidence not as readily apparent last season--had a red balloon attached to his head, and Rose performed with one stuck to the palm of each hand. The costumes elicited bursts of self-conscious laughter from the audience.
"What I really loved about it was that people let out their initial reaction. They woo-hooed and laughed and then it's over with 20 seconds into it," McIntyre said. "They accept the premise and go with it. There's something liberating about it."
Finishing out the evening was The Sun Road, which includes segments of live dance interspersed with film clips. On screen, the dichotomy of Chanel DaSilva, resplendent in a long, full red dress and G-Bowley, Jason Hartley, Brett Perry and John Michael Schert in formal tuxes with red cummerbunds dancing through snow, forested areas and pebbles at the bank of a river was not lost on viewers. The dancers both exemplified and were dwarfed by the majesty of their surroundings.
"To me, it's such a different way of thinking about movement, film versus live," McIntyre said. "It's like it's a different form to me ... I could be much more improvisational with the dancers when creating the film."