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What to do when the Saturday hoards are battling fog and rain on the ski hill and the city is trapped under a lid of damp gray clouds? Check out the arts, that’s what!

Plan of action:

  1. Strap on a comfy pair of shoes for the 35 minute stroll to Boise State University campus.
  2. Stroll through the Special Events Center in the Student Union and check into available seats for the 2 PM performance  of Ballet Idaho’s Firebird Suite, by Stravinsky. A favorite! Tickets available, but at $45, too expensive for my wallet.
  3. Stroll another half mile to check availability of seats for the Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. (Back up plan: cross the river and walk another half mile to The Flicks independent film theatre for one of the four matinees that look interesting.)
  4. Ah…a $12 seat is available at the Morrison Center—dead center, first row in the mezzanine! Sold.

    Portrait of Velma Morrison

Trey McIntyre established his dance troupe in Boise four years ago. Prior to that McIntyre traveled the world as a freelance choreographer. Freelancing was a great proving ground but McIntyre craved a troupe of his own—a group of talented dancers and artistic collaborators with whom to synergize creativity. After handpicking his core group of dancers and staging artists, the group collectively chose Boise for their home base.

The choice was serendipitous. Boise embraced TMP and TMP reaped national attention for themselves and for Boise.  In announcing TMP’s move to Boise, the New York Times commented, “Their final choice struck many as an unlikely one. Boise, the capital of Idaho. Bring on the potato jokes.”

But who is laughing now? The company has toured all around the United States , the Dominican Republic, and Europe. This season’s tour schedule includes  Carnegie Hall, in New York City, and performances in Chicago, Hawaii, Florida, Connecticut, Maine, The Philippines, Vietnam, China, and South Korea, to name a few.

TMP has also received two grants from the NEA and one from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. For two years in a row they have been named Boise’s Economic Development Cultural Ambassador.  A lot of accomplishments in a very short time—and in this brief post, I’m just scratching the surface.

Image from TMP program

This afternoon the company performed three works:

Leatherwing Bat capitalizes on the beloved songs of Peter, Paul, and Mary to portray a message of humanity during a time of cultural upheaval and activism. Six dancers took turns interpreting songs from the 1969 Peter, Paul and Mommy album, ending with a touching rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon.

Bad Winter was by far my favorite.  This piece, in two parts, is set to the music of The Cinematic Orchestra and Arthur Tracy. Dancer Chanel DaSilva masters the stage throughout the first part. The second part is a bittersweet duet between Travis Walker and Lauren Edson. The dancers act out the twists and turns of a relationship: the joy, the pain, the sorrow, the intense vulnerability. The music is an eclectic mix of jazz, electronica, hip hop, and richly orchestrated soundtrack music. Note to self: add this music to my collection.

Blue until June is dedicated to blues singer, Etta James, whose untimely death last month lent special poignancy to the performance. The dancers move in controlled rhythmic jerks one moment and in the next moment Jame’s voice vaults  them into sinuous slides, longing arcs of passion, and leaps of faith.

I’m certainly not qualified to critically judge the art of dance, but I know what moves me and TMP’s collage of music and movement moved me and the rest of the audience to our feet for the final ovation.

I have long wanted to experience TMP. This afternoon’s performance met my expectations. And even more amazing to me is that in my little town today, I had such magnificent choices, all within walking distance from home.

Stravinsky’s Firebird
Trey McIntyre’s  Welcome Home
The Flicks: The Artist, A Dangerous Method, Albert Nobbs, or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.