“The evening’s closing work, Trey McIntyre’s “Blue Until June,” was its most dazzling. McIntyre has frequently played with marrying contemporary American music with this traditional dance form, including in “High Lonesome,” set to songs by alt-rocker Beck, and “A Day in the Life,” set to Beatles tunes. This iteration of that template, which features Etta James songs, is lyrical, sensual and has a bit of a sense of humor.
In “You Can’t Talk to a Fool,” soloist Morgann Rose had a way of making you feel like she was learning the lesson of the song’s title the hard way. Her eyes telegraphed a knowing sense of resignation, but her reaches and runs had the urgency of a woman looking for some answers.
The passion reached its fever pitch in “Fool That I Am,” a lovers’ duet danced by Jared Nelson and Daniel Roberge. When it finished with Nelson grabbing the hand of a woman and walking away from Roberge, the audience audibly gasped, a testament to McIntyre’s careful choreographic construction and to Nelson’s and Roberge’s authentic performances.”
“A stunning first image was of a blond woman wrapped in fabric, arms raised, purple skirt extending from her waist to the borders of the stage. With statuesque calm, she rotated to the deep bluesy swing of “St. Louis Blues,” slowly uncovering the rest of the dancers. Slow, deliberate walks were met with swift, effortless partnering. Men lifted women high in the air, swinging them back and forth under “moonlight.” Women responded with stoic pirouettes attached, almost by accident, to male partners who supported their bodies with cool reserve. Using the words of songs to narrate each vignette, McIntyre’s most powerful tale, “Fool That I Am,” is a chilling condemnation of ’50s-era repression. Beautifully danced by Eric Beauchesne and Edgar Zendejas, the two men discreetly touch hands till one must leave the other for a woman waiting at the stage’s edge. Woman in hand, he leaves, briefly looking back at the love he cannot have.”
“Choreographer Trey McIntyre is really making the rounds. Open a dance program book at the Kravis Center — for Ballet Florida, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and, early next season, for Miami City Ballet — and you’ll find the young American listed. McIntyre’s one-act ballet Blue Until June (2001) wasn’t just the program opener; it was an eye-opener. It beautifully captures the innate desperation of the blues. Let-it-all-hang-out lyrics come through in each dance gesture, attitude, step and shimmy. As much ballet as body language, the 32-minute Blue requires spirited acting (and) spot-on technique.”
“Songs by blues thrush Etta James provides the backdrop for Trey McIntyre’s sultry “Blues Until June,” a 2000 piece that packs a wallop. Young master McIntyre has achieved great success with this ballet, which sets “St. Louis Blues,” “At Last,” “One For My Baby” and other gems into fluid motion.”
“The duets between the men and women have an aggressive intensity to them that often turn the partners into combatants. It’s exciting movement set against James’ often wrenching vocals.”
Choreographed by: Trey McIntyre
Costumes by: Sandra Woodall
Lighting by: Clifton Taylor
Music: by Etta James
Premiered: Oct. 11, 2000 by The Washington Ballet
Running Time: 32 minutes
The restaging of Blue Until June was underwritten by Mark and Judi Aronchick of Penn Valley, PA