Gravity Heroes

Oct 14, 2011


This weekend, the contemporary ballet company the “Trey McIntyre Project” performs in Boise. The group will do three pieces centered around the theme of being “Grounded.” Dancer Brett Perry says “It’s like a little bit of a rock concert for us. We get really, really excited. It’s a lot of our family and friends people we know are in the audience.”

This weekend also marks the Idaho premiere of Trey McIntyre’s newest work called “Gravity Heroes.”

We usually make changes in our lives because something catastrophic happens… Say a death in the family or maybe an accident . That’s not the case for artistic director Trey McIntyre.

Trey McIntyre: “I think It’s a rare thing for one to say I don’t like this path in my life and I’m going to do the things it takes to upset the ground underneath me the  things that I base my confidence and security in, I’m going to change those things because I envision something better.”

So McIntyre decided to shake things up and make some changes in his life.

Trey McIntyre : “And the more that I looked at that the more I really saw it as a heroic journey to give something up, to get something more is a brave thing to do.”

That’s partly how this weekend’s Idaho dance premiere of Gravity Heroes came about.

The other part has everything to do with the public radio show “Radio Lab.” In fact, it was a particular episode about gravity that inspired the name for McIntyre’s latest creation.

Trey McIntyre : “And they were talking about the turn of the century how people were defying Niagra Falls. And it started it off with this whole trend of having a  tight rope walking but the big challenge was to go over in a barrel and the succession of people who were brought to challenge gravity.”

Plunging over Niagara Falls in a barrel or taking on a personal transformation seemed like a heroic feat to McIntyre.  That brings us to Gravity Heroes, his contemporary ballet, and a recent rehearsal at his headquarters in downtown Boise.  A dancer swaggers on stage singing the Star Spangled Banner. He chucks a cigarette across the stage as  others rush onto the floor in a grand opening set to punk rock. But quickly the focus shifts to a young man. He throws his arms into space as if hitting some invisible objects.

Brett Perry: “And then there’s this moment and these piñatas fall from the sky and they’re hanging and that’s what I was hitting as I was rehearsing.”

Brett Perry is the lead dancer in Gravity Heroes.

Brett Perry: “ For the piñatas, to me they represent maybe thoughts, ideas and different elements of different parts of your life.”

It’s not just about breaking open piñatas to get the goodies inside. It’s about destruction,  explains McIntyre.

Trey McIntyre : “It’s about ending an old way with some deliberate action A change in behaviors has to be done and so breaking something.”

Gravity Heroes debuted this fall at the Vail International Film Festival in Colorado.  It’s such a technically elaborate production that it’s hard to find theatres that can accommodate those piñatas, confetti drops, bubbles and dramatic lighting.

The piece reflects an internal examination of one man and eventually a re-birth of sorts. At one point, the other dancers surround Perry, sheltering him with a heart wrenching hug. Perry’s been with the Trey McIntyre Project for four years, since the company put down roots in Boise. He says Gravity Heroes has helped him mature as a dancer. He’s also witnessed something else.

Brett Perry: “I think it’s really is the next evolution of Trey as a person and a choreographer and an artist. I think there’s a real element of trust and honesty that he put into creating this work and put into us as dancers and artists to go there with him.”

McIntyre agrees. “It’s been an incredibly interesting process of how my own life has paralleled the making of this work.”  In his own way, Trey McIntyre’s jumped in a barrel and made his own journey over Niagara Falls. Now he says there’s no turning back.

The Trey McIntyre Project performs “Grounded” at the Morrison Center in Boise tomorrow night and again, Sunday afternoon.


Making of Gravity Heroes from TMP Video on Vimeo.

Courtesy of Trey McIntyre Project