Trey McIntyre Explores
New Spaces

Trey McIntyre. Photo credit: Otto Kitsinger
In a recent blog   post, Trey McIntyre wrote in anticipation of his unusual experience of doing back-to-back pieces with San Francisco Ballet and Smuin: "This time is different. The ramp up into the performance (with San Francisco Ballet) is simultaneously the ramp up into beginning something brand new (with Smuin)... I do not know where I will land." McIntyre's artistic life has been full of new experiences since he closed his company.
The World Dances
spoke with the multifaceted artist as he began work on his new piece with Smuin about his evolving creative process, new projects, advice for dancers, and more. Tickets for the Smuin premiere, upcoming in May, are available here.
How have you been feeling since describing the challenge of transitioning between commissions so immediately?
I've learned quite a bit from the experience. The generation of creative angst has been really helpful. It's led me to an even more creative space than I would normally have and made for a really great first week. I would definitely do it again.
I used to really fight against this space. You want to feel good at the end of the day, but I also know I don't create as well unless there's something I'm running up against. Some people create negativity in the studio to drum that up. I want to have a positive experience in the studio so I'm realizing that stirring up my own internal world is helpful. I saw an interview with Sally Fields years ago in which she was asked how she prepares for a role and she responded, "I just rub myself raw." That's sort of how it feels.
What are your thoughts since deciding to shut down Trey McIntyre Project, and how have you changed artistically?
I'm so happy! It's been just wonderful. I wouldn't trade that experience of having my company. I learned so much, got so much, and became a new person. But after having that experience, I did what I needed to do and I don't look back. I was a freelance choreographer before I started the company. At that time, I felt so unmoored and like I had no sense of place. But now, I love it! All I have to do is show up and make a ballet. It's such a privilege and I can make better work because of it. I feel like an artist again.
You've been focusing recently on making your documentary, Gravity Hero. What drove you to work on film?
I've always been a filmmaker in spirit. When I was a dancer with Houston Ballet, I made my first movie by talking my way into the public access station and using their equipment. I've always made choreography in a very filmic way. I just finished  Gravity Hero. It's an autobiography, very much about the closing of my company and getting to the point where that was the right thing to do. There's dance in it, but I really tried to make it accessible to a broader, non-dance audience.
For my first documentary, I'm not sure I could have come up with a greater challenge. It's impossible to be objective or to know how someone who doesn't have my perspective might take in information.
Read more of McIntyre's forthcoming insights about his work, process, and advice for dancers. 
Tamara Johnson  
Amy Seiwert: Challenge, Exploration, and Meaning
Ben Needham-Wood, Rachel Furst, and Jonathan Powell in Amy Seiwert's "Broken Open" presented as part of Smuin's Dance Series 02 in the 2016-2017 season. Photo credit:  Chris Hardy.
The mission statement of acclaimed choreographer Amy Seiwert's company, Amy Seiwert Imagery, is "to expand the definition of ballet by exploding preconceptions of what ballet is and can be." This ideal pervades her work, as she constantly challenges herself and her dancers to explore new expressive realms. The World Dances spoke with Seiwert about what this means to her, her work, the importance of cultivating new and diverse creative voices in ballet, and more.
It seems like embracing and responding to challenge is an important part of your work.
Yes, ballet is my language. It's the field I love and where I've spent my career. But ballet can sometimes be very safe. We have an amazing tradition that we should honor, but I'm interested in what else can be said with that language and how it can be relevant to today. Especially today, when things can be so divisive, how does this traditionally European art form find a voice that matters to our time? We need to find that if ballet is to be able to resonate with the population. And I think we can.
The question of diversity in ballet has been enjoying a swell in discussion lately. What does it mean to you to be a successful female choreographer in this context?
It's interesting. There was a Twyla Tharp interview where she was asked about being a female choreographer. She answered, "I'm not a female choreographer; I'm just a choreographer." I was saddened by that. For me, being a female choreographer is who I am. I'm sure my experiences being female shape my art. Is it an agenda I put forward? No, but I'm not going to say it doesn't effect things. Everyone talks about the dearth of female choreographers. There's not a dearth. It's just that we're not getting the same opportunities, especially not the high profile ones. People are trying though. We have to advocate for women and we have to advocate for choreographers of color. We need more and new voices, otherwise ballet is in a bubble. We have to reflect our world.
Please tell us about the work you're currently doing.
The piece, Broken Open, premiered last fall with Smuin. I have a phenomenal production team with Brian Jones, who did the scenic design and lighting, and Sandra Woodall, who did the costumes. It was good watching it coming together in the studio, but when we got to the theater it became suddenly so much greater than the sum of its parts and really came to life. It was chosen as one of the top ten performances in San Francisco in 2015, so we brought it back and I'm really excited to see it on stage again. The company's had some turnover since last time, so I'm excited to see it with some new dancers.
After that, there's a lot! I'm doing my first opera this spring, Phillip Glass' Les Enfants Terribles with Opera Parell รจ le. I've never done an opera before. And this summer I'm doing my first full-length ballet, which will be based on Schubert's Winterreise. We'll do that first in San Francisco in July then we take it to New York to the Joyce. [Click here for more on upcoming works and tickets.]
Read more about Amy Seiwert Imagery, the company's bold approach to innovative ballet, Seiwert's advice for dancers, and more.
  By Tamara Johnson 

Your Next Must-Read: The Chosen Maiden by Eva Stachniak   
Best-selling, award-winning author Eva Stachniak 's latest novel, The Chosen Maiden, is pure gold. Every dancer, choreographer, mother of a dancer, or lover of a great story will be immediately immersed in this enticing historical novel based on the life of Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky's sister, Bronislava (Bronia) Nijinska. You will relate to and love learning about Bronia's struggles, insecurities, and strengths as a daughter, dancer, muse, artist, teacher, and mother. Her vision of ballet in many ways was that of current-day dancers and choreographers--her desire for ballet to represent both what has come before and a new, modern, bold relevant future. Stachniak reveals the fascinating lives of Vaslav Nijinsky, his sister, Serge Diaghilev, and many Ballet Russes artists in a story we will hold on to forever.
Seriously, get your copy today. You'll love it!  Learn more about Eva Stachniak and The Chosen Maiden.

TheWorldDances E-Newsletter Team


Publisher:  Karla Johnson

Editor:        Tamara Johnson

Producer:   Ester Rodriguez 

February 6, 2017
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January 2017 Harlequin Floors Scholarship Winners 
Thank you to all the wonderful dancers who share your videos each month. We love seeing your creative, multi-faceted, tremendous dance talents! Congratulations to Adian Wolf, Shannon Hartle, Katherine Nettles, and Sophie Luedi--the four January 2017 Harlequin Floors Scholarship winners.  Harlequin Floors is truly honored to support dancers' dreams through their Monthly Scholarship Program.  Dancers' needs, your safety, the longevity of your careers, and your peak performance are of main concern for Harlequin. Harlequin sprung floors and vinyl flooring (marley) are designed to keep dancers safe and enhance your performance and technique.  It's important for you to know that you are dancing on a floor that will protect your joints and ligaments and help you be the best dancer you can be whether you're taking class, rehearsing, or performing.
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