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Houston Ballet in Trey McIntyre's "Bound"
Wortham Center, Houston, June 6, 2000

by Azlan Ezaddin

"Bound" pleases the eye and sparks the imagination. Using a stirring piece of music by Benjamin Britten, choreographer Trey McIntyre infused his enjoyable new ballet with stylish imageries and contemporary illusions, yet without straying too far from the classical idiom.

Too often in contemporary ballet, a young choreographer relies on one or two gimmicks, be it particular motifs, lighting effects or computerized music. Not so McIntyre, at least not in "Bound," a work so complete in its design that one evening isn't enough to take it all in. Not only does each element accentuate each other; they also evolve for each of the four movements, giving the audience a richly textured feast to savor.

Each movement of “Bound” is structured differently, each with its own set of motifs, lighting designs, costumes, projected backdrops and tempi. The first movement, featuring four principal roles -- including an impressively athletic Dawn Scannell -- in light earthtone costumes and supported by a corps of eight dancers, begins the work in an exuberant and spirited mood. There is a memorable sequence in which the silhouette of a dancer is lit from behind and below. The second, slow, movement features a pas de deux wrapped in tension and anxiety.

According to McIntyre, he was inspired by the contrasting meanings of the word "bound," both as in "restrained" as well as in "leap." This idea was not captured more emotively for me than in a spectacular pas de trois in the third movement in which the furious energy of Barbara Bears seemingly collides into her partners on either side of her.

The work ends in a dazzling final movement featuring all 17 dancers -- including a fiery solo by Mauricio Canete -- costumed in daring red and orange colors. I wonder if any other contemporary ballet choreographer would have dared create such a crowd-pleasing razzle-dazzle finale. McIntyre obviously does and I find it refreshing.

While the principal dancers excelled in their roles, the corps appeared to be slightly off the mark Friday night, with the occasional foot out of step and partners missing each other's hands. However, these are minor quibbles that I am sure will be attended to by the time this work is performed again (I hope it will be). Houston Ballet is far too professional a company not to address these problems.

Trey McIntyre is definitely a choreographer to watch. Artistic directors of ballet companies around the world should take note: “Bound” should look good on almost any ballet company and its energy will certainly draw audiences in.


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