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Ballet Troupe Honors National Parks with 'Sun Road

(Posted September 2, 2009)

The Trey McIntyre Project based an entire ballet on global warming and set the multimedia production in Glacier National Park. The show is Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Rosenberger Auditorium.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Typically, ballet is performed to classical composers like Tchaikovsky or Beethoven, but the Trey McIntyre Project will use music ranging from bossa nova to avant-garde to straight pop music to score its dances at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 11, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

To be sure, the program will start with a "samba" ballet called "Like a Samba," set to the music of Astrud Gilberto. Gilberto came to fame in the 1960s as the vocalist on the hit "The Girl from Ipanema," a huge hit by Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim that set off the bossa nova craze. Gilberto has sung in English and Portuguese and has had hits with "The Shadow of Your Smile" and "Dindi."

The troupe also will perform "(serious)," a ballet designed for three dancers set to the music of Henry Cowell. Cowell was an American composer known for exploring atonality, polyrhythms and non-Western music.

The highlight of the performance will be "The Sun Road," which was recently commissioned by Wolf Trap National Park and Glacier National Park and resulted in a multimedia ballet about the effects of global warming. The piece features the music of Paul Simon, jazz singer Nina Simone and Young Grey Horse, a Native American musician. The piece, set for five dancers, is performed in front of a video projection of the same five dancers performing in Glacier National Park amid the park's spectacular scenery. The piece is named after Going-to-the-Sun Road, a scenic roadway that winds its way through the park.

"Whether tapping your foot or nodding your head, the response to melody and rhythm is movement. The relationship between music and this impulse fascinates me and fuels my creativity."
Trey McIntyre

The Trey McIntyre Project is a relatively new ensemble and it debuted its first performance in August 2008. It completed its first national tour in June 2009.

The ensemble is led by Trey McIntyre, artistic director, and is based in Boise, Idaho. He has created more than 75 ballets for such dance companies as the Stuttgart ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, New York City Ballet and ballet de Santiago in Chile.

"Music inspires me, often providing an emotional tone and conceptual framework for a new piece," McIntyre says in his artist's statement. "Whether tapping your foot or nodding your head, the response to melody and rhythm is movement. The relationship between music and this impulse fascinates me and fuels my creativity."
To date the Trey McIntyre project has toured more than 25 cities across the United States.

McIntyre also has created works such as "The Reassuring Effects (of Form and Poetry)" set to the music of Antonin Dvorak's "Serenade for Strings;" "Leatherwing Bat," choreographed to the music of Peter, Paul and Mary; "Surrender," featuring the music of Grand Funk Railroad, Tchaikovsky and Regina Spektor; and "Ma Maison," a piece performed to the music of the Preservation Hall Jazz Ban.

"McIntyre embodies the breezy nature of a dreamer, albeit with his feet planted firmly on the ground," wrote a dance critic for the New York Times.

The Trey McIntyre Project is comprised of nine dancers in the official company.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.