- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trey McIntyre Project, the ambitious new globe-trotting dance group with strong local roots, bounds into Washington Wednesday for its debut at a gala in the Harman Center for the Arts. The gala will be followed by two performances Saturday at Olney Theatre.

Mr. McIntyre has many admirers, for he has created some of the Washington Ballet’s most striking world premieres, including a jazzy “Blue Until June” and the dazzling “A Day in the Life” to music of the Beatles. His limpid romance “The Reassuring Effects (of Form and Poetry)” closes his programs this week. A part-time summer group he formed also has appeared at Wolf Trap the past two seasons.

All this is prelude to his bold decision to strike out and launch a full-time, year-round company.

It might seem foolhardy to launch a new dance company in today’s financial climate, not to mention the offbeat choice of Boise, Idaho, for a home base.

The reaction, however, has been beyond gratifying. Presenters have been enthusiastic, commissions for new works have been rolling in, and the company’s dance card this year has been filled with appearances at home and abroad.

The 10-member company includes Jason Hartley, a star of the Washington Ballet who left that group to take on this new challenge and says he is enjoying every minute. “We’ve gotten standing ovations every place we’ve been this far - it just seems a language that has no barriers. And it’s been fulfilling to dance the same work again and again. I get to find more values every single time I perform,” Mr. Hartley says.

The company made its official debut in the summer at Jacob’s Pillow in the Berkshires, and its touring has led it to Santa Barbara, Calif.; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; and the Dominican Republic. Come January, the company will travel to Hungary, then perform at the Joyce Theater in New York and up and down the East Coast.

“We’re spending about 20 weeks on the road,” Mr. McIntyre says, “which is one reason I feel fairly secure financially - so many presenters were offering opportunities. Twenty weeks seems like a lot of time to be on the road [but] everyone’s very enthusiastic and we’re all in love with each other. But after 20 weeks on the road, who knows what will happen,” he says with a laugh.

“Right now, I’m choreographing a new work using New Orleans music and musicians, and it’s premiering this month in New Orleans with the Preserv ation HallJazz Band.I’m pretty excited aboutthat. Everypremierewe’re doing this season is being commissioned by a presenter.”

For summer, Wolf Trap has commissioned him to create a multimedia work set against videos of Glacier National Park.

The program this week opens with two works Mr. McIntyre made for his new company: “a duet, ‘Surrender,’ because I think Jason Hartley is a great partner,” he says, “and ‘Leatherwing Bat,’ with music by Peter, Paul and Mary that’s definitely a soundtrack from my childhood. “When I heard it recently, it made me feel exactly the way I felt when I was 4 years old. It was an interesting place to start exploring.”

Mr. McIntyre sees it as a reflection of what’s going on in his life, taking his company full time, letting go of immaturity and tackling something so big.

“I’m anchored by the feeling of support and family being with this group,” he says. “Everything I’d hoped to get out of this company being full time is coming to fruition. I’m able to dig deeper within myself and help dancers go to new places. It’s been a thrill; it feels like a real gift.”

WHEN YOU GO

WHAT: Trey McIntyre Project

WHERE: Sidney Harman Hall

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

TICKETS: $80; 202/547-1122

WHERE: Olney Theatre

WHEN: 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday

TICKETS: $35 to $65; 301/924-3400 or www.olneytheatre.org

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