Syvert Lorenz Garcia in Trey McIntyre's Who Am I Here? Courtesy McIntyre

The Trey McIntyre Project Is Back—And Completely Reimagined

By Nancy Wozny For Dance Magazine

Six years after shuttering his popular dance troupe Trey McIntyre Project, its eponymous founder is relaunching the company as a conduit for digital dance films, with a project called FLTPK. "It's not a company of dancers," McIntyre insists. "It's a community of artists."

In March, McIntyre was ready to premiere his David Bowie ballet Pretty Things, his first new work for Houston Ballet in nearly two decades, when the city shut down. With COVID-19 infections in the New York City area spiking, he decided to stay put.


Having transitioned to dance filmmaker since the initial closing of TMP, he was eager to move beyond the lonely dancer in the living room trope—and to put the furloughed Houston Ballet dancers to work. "The COVID crisis has put the need for new digital content into high gear as people find ways to spend their time at home," says McIntyre. "There is a great hunger for art presented in this way, but a lack of great content."

So he made three dance films: Who Am I Here? with Chun Wai Chan, Karina Gonzáles and Syvert Lorenz Garcia; The Call with Chandler Dalton, Connor Walsh and Chae Eun Yang; and Prāṇāyāma with Harper Watters. The films go live today as he announces the relaunch of TMP.

He sees his film work more of a continuation of his work as a photographer rather than as a choreographer. "In making films, I'm more interested in capturing an authentic moment," he says. "Much like photography, I spend a fair amount of time talking with collaborators about the ideas we are exploring and seeing what comes up for both of us. Sometimes I create movement and sometimes I work with dancers on an improvisational structure."

A lanky Black man wearing a black sweater and white ruffles developpes to the side

Still from Prāṇāyāma with Harper Watters

Courtesy McIntyre

While working with the Houston Ballet dancers, he had his big idea: Why did it just have to be about him? Why not have others join the digital dance film party?

"My mind doesn't really have a brake system when it comes to dreaming, so naturally it just grew in more and more directions," he says. "I'm interested in the medium of digital work evolving into a more compelling and widely enjoyed art form. That's not a goal I can achieve alone."

He has organized 13 teams of artists that each include a choreographer, designer and composer. (It's up to the group to decide who they need—many also have cinematographers and some will have multiple dancers.) Some are experienced digital content producers, while others are newer to the process. The list includes Micaela Taylor, Sidra Bell, Cass Mortimer Eipper, David Dawson, Cathy Marston, Eoghan Dillon, Javier de Frutos, Yin Yue, Dores André, Melissa Barak, Alan Cumming, Steven Hoggett and Mike Tyus, who launches with the first team film the first week of September.

The project is funded using Patreon, which McIntyre has had some success with as a photographer. The crowdfunding platform provides ongoing support for artists to do their work. "This could be something that speaks to this very moment in history and provides income and an audience for many artists who don't know where to go next," he says. "The pot of money gets divided evenly."

For McIntyre, it's the best of both worlds to be an artist working in a community, but with everyone taking stock in how it moves out into the world. "Choreography is such a solitary and frankly competitive profession. I really love having colleagues who we can mutually benefit from each other's successes."

As for the future of this version of TMP, he sees it growing even more viable post-pandemic. "The fate of the world has suddenly opened up this opportunity for the new environment to move into the forefront," he says. "The world is different now and there is no going back to how it was. How exciting it is: the potential for something we haven't seen before to open like a flower. It could be magic."

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A champion of female choreographers, Morgan has also choreographed numerous ballets for the company, including world premieres of King Arthur's Camelot and The Nutcracker. She has also helped orchestrate several company collaborations, including 2013's Frampton and Cincinnati Ballet Live and joint productions with BalletMet.

Pointe caught up with Morgan to talk about her recent announcement.

Victoria Morgan is shown from the side standing on stage right, turning to smile at a line of costumed dancers to her left during bows. She wears a patterned green dress with chunky green high heels and holds a red rose in her hand.

Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Why leave Cincinnati Ballet now?

It's been an amazing run and I have seen it all. I am not sure where I would go from here. I also feel there is a required stimulus and infusion of new ideas and energy that always needs to be a part of a growing, evolving and exciting arts organization.

What made you happiest at Cincinnati Ballet?

The people, from the devotion of patrons and donors to learning from and feeling the pride in work from the staff. It has also been so satisfying for me to choreograph on and watch so many dancers evolve in their dance careers and lives.

Were there things you wanted to do for the company that you weren't able to?

There were other collaborations I wanted us to explore and choreographers I wanted us to work with. It takes quite an investment to make those happen.

Your legacy includes actively creating opportunities for female choreographers. What motivated that?

I started realizing, in a profound way, the gender inequities in our art form. Because I was in a leadership position, I thought I could do something about this and try to get to a 50-50 balance of male and female choreographers. It took a little time to find women to step forward, but it happened. Now there are many more prominent female choreographers, including our resident choreographer Jennifer Archibald, and I am proud of that.

If you could handpick your successor, what qualities would you look for?

Somebody creative, charged up, and who can be visionary. Someone who has had a high-level experience in our art form. A leader who is demanding but also kind and supportive, and who opens doors to find new ideas while still embracing Cincinnati Ballet's philosophies.

What do you feel will be one of the biggest challenges for the new artistic director?

The important cause of DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility). Whoever steps into that position has to have awareness of the culture of today's conversation.

Do you plan to keep choreographing?

I am not being proactive about it, but if the opportunity presents itself, it would be fun.

What's next?

I feel my next calling is bringing movement to the biggest segment of our population, baby boomers. I want to be part of an initiative that makes moving and wellness enjoyable and enlivens people.

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