Broward Center debuts Trey McIntyre's ballet "Pass, Away"

Travis Walker, Ashley Werhun and John Michael Schert from the Trey McIntyre Project performing at Broward Center. Photo by Lois Greenfeld

"I can't wait to get to Fort Lauderdale," choreographer Trey McIntyre moans. "I love it so much. I love the beaches. I'm so happy just kayaking and exploring the canals there. I’m so tired of winter weather."

That's because one of the dance world's hottest names is between performances in still-frigid Olympia and Seattle, Wash. His contemporary-ballet company, Trey McIntyre Project, is based in Boise, Idaho, where ski season usually ends in March or April.

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is bringing the company to sunny South Florida for the "Pass, Away" world premiere it has commissioned from the acclaimed dance troupe. "Pass, Away" is danced to the music of Richard Strauss with vocals by Jessye Norman.

"To put it in a nutshell, it’s about death," McIntyre says. "But it's actually a very hopeful work. It's about death on a lot of different levels. There's the little death we experience every day. And then, there are the things that we think are important at the time that go away. And as we move into our 40s, we make that transition. I've found myself making that conscious decision to shed things from the first half of my life that would not serve me in the second half of my life."


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McIntyre has created works for the American Ballet Theatre, the New York City Ballet and the Washington Ballet. He fell in love with the score as a student with the Houston Ballet Academy, when he choreographed a piece to the suite of songs.

"I just have a response to it," he says. "Jessye Norman's voice is so robust and emotional and true. And I have the association of watching her sing. When I first [worked with her in another piece], there was a bit of a stipulation that she not be singing over in the corner. She wanted to be involved in the action and not some opera singer off to the side. She wanted to be into the work, as well. There was an important reason for it: She didn't want to be an embellishment. That ethic, that connection she brings with her, that is a part of her."

The program will also include McIntyre's "Queen of Goths" (inspired by Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus") and "Arrantza" (an homage to the Basque culture in Boise).

Trey McIntyre Project will perform 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $49. Call 954-462-0222 or go to BrowardCenter.org.