10 Minutes with Trey McIntyre
A year and a half after closing his company, the choreographer continues to bring dance to film, photography and the stage.
Photo from McIntyre’s upcoming book, Private Idaho. Photo by McIntyre.
The dance world gasped when Trey McIntyre announced in 2014 that he was shutting down his company, Trey McIntyre Project, after six wildly successful years as a full-time troupe. The dashing dancemaker, currently traveling around the country, always had a hand in other projects, such as film and photography, so his next chapter as an independent choreographer/filmmaker/photographer was already in motion. As McIntyre works on both books and a film, he’s also making new dances: The latest, for BalletX, is slated for a February 10–14 premiere at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia.
What is the new work for BalletX about?
I am using music by Amy Winehouse. Usually, I don’t focus on biographical info, but I am interested in Amy’s story. I identify with portions of her process as an artist, and her death really affected me. It was so tragic. The ballet explores parts of her life that I resonate with. She had a different way of bringing herself and her art into the world; her struggle with that was her eventual undoing. She was miserable, inconsolable until it was right. The world was terrible until she figured out how to make it into art.
What’s the best part of your life now that your company has closed?
I’m able to return my focus to being an artist, and make that the principal activity of my life. It feels like I’m getting back to myself.
What’s been most difficult?
I was always so proud of how nimble TMP was, and I had an amazing staff that made that possible. Now, if something needs to be done, it has to be me doing it.
Tell us about the film you’ve been working on.
This Used to Be My House is about the life and death of a dance company, and my personal journey through that process. This is my first long-form documentary, so I am learning so much every day. As with most documentaries, you learn what it is about after you shoot it. It’s turning out to be autobiographical, with a big focus on the dances I made during the course of the company, especially the two ballets using the music of Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans, The Sweeter End and Ma Maison. Those pieces examined the unique culture around death in that community, and the film draws metaphorical parallels to the life and death of TMP.
And I understand there are book projects underway as well.
Yes, two, actually! Private Idaho includes nude photos of athletes in the gorgeous terrain of Idaho, with my essays and an intro by actor Alan Cumming. It should be out in a year or so. The second book is about how dancers relate to the place they call home. You can get an idea of my photography from my Instagram, @treymcintyrephoto.
Social media has made the dance world a lot smaller, giving users instant access to artists and companies around the world. For aspiring pros, platforms like Instagram can offer a tantalizing glimpse into the life of a working performer. But there's a fine line between taking advantage of what social media can offer and relying too heavily on it.
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
On August 19, 1929, shockwaves were felt throughout the dance world as news spread that impresario Sergei Diaghilev had died. The founder of the Ballets Russes rewrote the course of ballet history as the company toured Europe and the U.S., championing collaborations with modernist composers, artists and designers such as Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel. The company launched the careers of its five principal choreographers: Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine.