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:
- Strap on a comfy pair of shoes for the 35 minute stroll to Boise State University campus.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Ah…a $12 seat is available at the Morrison Center—dead center, first row in the mezzanine! Sold.
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.
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.
Sandra Parsons said:
Boise really sounds like a unique place which has loads to offer. I am glad you like your home a little more than I like mine 😉
It is nice to like where you live, and I do…except for the politics.
Hopefully you won’t be trapped where you are for too long.
My mother, who left the UK for Germany at age 5, never had a kind word to say about the island and never wanted to go back. But I figured her youth and the fact that she lived there during the war made her an unreliable witness. You, however, I’m listening to!
How industrious you are! A very good plan indeed and a sure sign that we need to get out of the house and interact with the world, especially in winter.
We go regularly (well, twice a year, perhaps more) to Stratford Upon Avon to see Shakespeare plays. Absolutely love it.
Idaho sounds fascinating, I must say. I wrote a song once with that in it! But it was about an English person looking for some sun! Clearly you get cloudy days too. But your plan is excellent and what a great idea to get out and enjoy the arts. Arts are what keep us human, I feel, and it’s a shame that they are often over-priced or the first thing that governments cut back on.
I think I remember your reference to Idaho, or am I dreaming again?
Yes, I’m fortunate that my relatively small town has such a vibrant arts community. It’s amazing really, since Idaho itself is such a bastion of right wing, fear mongers. I think 95% of the state’s Democrats live here in Boise…and yet they may even be a minority here! Surprisingly, we even have a summer outdoor Shakespeare festival with a wonderful facility near the Boise River. They put on about 4 productions per year, but usually only 3, sometimes lately, only 2 are by Shakespeare. And when they do Shakespeare, they present it in very unconventional ways, trying to tie the themes to current issues. (Hand feeding an ignorant populace, perhaps?) I have mixed feelings about that. At least that approach brings people out who might shy away from Shakespeare otherwise.
You are spot on about the arts being the first to get the ax, or the evil eye for “seditious” thoughts. Unfortunately, many of the performances are beyond my budget. I hold season tickets for the Philharmonic and for the Boise Contemporary Theatre and then I pray for opportunities for the other great functions.
Great to see that they put on Shakespeare as well, even if the productions are unconventional. We get that here too, but when it’s set in Stratford it still has ‘legitimacy’, and beside, I don’t suppose even the great man himself would expect his plays to be performed as if they were still in Elizabethan or Jacobean times.
Interesting what you say about politics. The ‘impression’ we get over here is that the East and West coasts are more ‘liberal’ while the huge chunk of Mid-West and the rest are largely conservative. I wouldn’t like to say where we are heading over here – Scotland is threatening to break away from the union and I have to say that I can’t blame them. Thank you and kind regards.
80% of our winter days here on the Nova Scotia eastern shore are grey ! 😉 I just pretend I’m living in England and head on out the door.
Boise seems like a very happening place. Kudos to you for finding out what’s going on — that you can afford.
dfb hit the nail on the head with the comment about the arts being under-valued.
I’ve gotta say, Nova Scotia intrigues me. I imagine it to be very damp and cold. Do you have snow in the winter?
Sounds like a perfectly wonderful way to spend a few Saturday hours!
Thanks. It was.
Very interesting, Linda. And I loved the photographs. 🙂
I didn’t know Boise was so interesting. Maybe I should visit and share a few of these cultural activities.
Absolutely! Put Boise on your queue and before you get here, let me know and I’ll dig up the goods on what’s going on. It seems like there’s always something happening. Probably more cultural stuff during the winter and a bit more outdoorsy stuff in the summer. But overall, a pretty fine blend. The only thing that stinks here is the politics. I have to clap my hands over my ears a good part of the time! http://www.cityofboise.org/CityGovernment/VisitingBoise/ 😉
Jealous, jealous, jealous.
Sorry, sorry, sorry. But soon it won’t matter to you, you’ll be busy with homegrown entertainment! ;-}