Last night I saw The Trey McIntyre Project in Seattle and it blew me away. 9 beautiful men and women propelled themselves around the stage with strength, elegance, and humor. It began with a woman sporting balloons as breasts (full-sized balloons,that is) and ended with a wedding march accompanied by the great Freddie Mercury.
But the best of it was in the middle. I couldn't help but smile with the dancers throughout, but what moved me especially was the piece called Ten Pin Episodes, in which 3 couples performed in turn amidst bowling pins, of all things, set in place by their colleagues. It was beautiful to watch each pair move about each other, seeming to explore the possibilities of bodies interacting.
I love theatre; I sit in the audience of a play as often as I can. When I was younger I often went out to see live music. I can appreciate them both in many ways, but dance is different. Actors and musicians can entertain me; they can evoke myriad feelings; they can and do leave me thinking about their performances, but I have no interest in putting myself in their places. Dance, to me is an experiential rather than presentational art form. I can evaluate my reaction differently, thus I tend to ask myself: Would I want to be doing what these dancers are doing? How would that make me feel?
Throughout most of the night's show, and most clearly during Ten Pin Episodes, the answer exploded from my soul. I found myself wanting to dance in this way, to re-create the feeling of what I was watching, with someone I love. What a wonderful way to make love.
I don't know yet what I should get out of a dance performance. I don't know if choreographers have deep-rooted messages they try to share or if they aim primarily to create a particular aesthetic, but my appreciation is centered on the triumph of the human body. Most of us are capable of far more than we know and great dancers like these show us that. I love to see things I didn't know were possible. It is not that I thought them impossible, but I hadn't created the image for myself. I am grateful for the help. As one who tries to expand the capabilities of my own body, this actually makes it difficult to watch dance performances at times. As I sit on my butt, I feel as if I should be in the studio practicing something.
One last thing. Usually, even at a great performance, I am ready to go by the time it ends. This night I was ready for more. I went to the 3rd of 3 performances. Had my tickets been a night or 2 earlier, I definitely would have been back to see it again.