The biting mockery of The Unkindness of Ravens and the social commentary of Ladies and Gentle Men--both of which were performed at the Morrison Center Nov. 10--show that Boise choreographer Trey McIntyre hasn't lost a step in bringing together big ideas and minute observations through dance.
Nov. 10 was the fifth anniversary of the Trey McIntyre Project's move to Boise and the company celebrated with a world premiere preview of The Unkindness of Ravens, a brutal take on man's animalistic nature. With help from Dancemotion USAsm, TMP enlisted three dancers--An Lee Chang, Tae Hee Kim and So Jin Lee--from the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company to perform with TMP's Brett Perry and Ryan Redmond. The piece will have its official debut Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Wearing black costumes and rigid wings, the dancers displayed pack behavior reminiscent of the crows in Dumbo, while one of them puffed haughtily on a cigar. Finished squabbling, the ravens banded together only to commit themselves to flames.
Ladies and Gentle Men, which premiered in August at Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Ma., offered a rich commentary on conformity and gender identity. Men in formal wear chastised each other for displaying individuality while women preened and courted, only to become victims at the hands of their male counterparts.
It was here that McIntyre displayed his aptitude for incorporating costumes into his shows: A woman thrust an arm into her male partner's dress shirt, pushing her hand deep into his chest. During an expression of sexual violence, one of the men in business attire greedily forced his hand up a dancer's dress. At the end of the routine, male and female dancers swapped clothing.
Sandwiched between these two pieces was the most intimate performance, Bad Winter. The dance dates back to February, but its tenderness is evergreen. Two lovers performed a duet about a caring--but dying--relationship, affecting the withering lines of trust and compassion between them as one dancer, consumed in feverish activity, was met with motionlessness or apathy in the other.
TMP has just embarked on a national tour, and audiences are sure to enjoy, as Boise has, McIntyre's fertile imagination and artistic sensitivity.