THE NEW YORK TIMES
“Being a popular artist need not mean being simple. Trey McIntyre…is one of the best choreographers around at drawing out the emotional complexity of pop music.
The music is six choice tracks by Aretha Franklin. Sylvie Rood’s costumes put the eight-member cast — which includes four men — in pants wide enough to be skirt-like, and Mr. McIntyre’s approach to gender is gently fluid and unconventional. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” is a duet between ladies.
Without miming the lyrics or telling his own stories, Mr. McIntyre finds a balance between easy flow and inner accents.”
“McIntyre is well-versed in atypical scores. He has set dances to a wide variety of musical artists such as indie bands Of Montreal and the Shins, 60s artists the Zombies, Janis Joplin, and The Beatles, Henry Mancini’s bright and sparkling orchestrations, Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s rolicking New Orleans sound, Lou Reed, Queen…the variety – which also includes Amy Winehouse and Diana Ross – seems (pleasantly) endless.
Despite its title, Eight Women uses both male and female dancers (the full troupe) to pleasing effect. Seeing the cast in sleeveless leotards/tunics with fluttering wide legged palazzo pants in peaches and neutrals, combined with the music, it was hard not to want Eight Women to be McIntyre’s Revelations. While it doesn’t quite reach that pinnacle of perfection, it is nonetheless a fantastic bit of dancing and a tasteful tribute to an exceptional artist.
One of the most moving chapters, “Natural Woman” features a pas de deux between Parsons newbie Katie Garcia and Zoey Anderson. Refreshing in its departure from conventional hetereosexual partnering, there were some beautiful, moving and difficult lifts. Anderson is a showy performer, which, combined with her Gwen Stefani-esque makeup styling, can be overbearing. But in Eight Women she found a way to turn up the sympatico, particularly in a solo to “I Say A Little Prayer.“ McIntyre makes dancers pop up in small tight bundles of energy before exploding with outward gestures (something Taylor was also good at). In poolside speak: a reverse cannonball. Eight Women was a nice vehicle for Henry Steele who proved his mettle in several works throughout the evening. All in all Eight Women is groovy, clever and another success for McIntyre.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL
“For his “Eight Women,” set to six Aretha Franklin songs, Mr. McIntyre works the company’s four men and four women into a free-flowing, unisex ensemble dressed in Sylvie Rood’s sleek-
topped costumes sporting full, translucent trouser legs. Mr. McIntyre’s physical rendering of Ms. Franklin’s singing and songs takes his energetic cast, both as little groups and duos and
solos, into the air and tumbling onto the ground with silken ease.
In proximity to Mr. Parsons’s generic, slickly smooth moves, Mr. McIntyre’s choreography
feels more substantial, as it’s inflected with flickering gestures and soaring, air-filled activity.
In the end, however, “Eight Women” works its way through the music without capturing the
individuality of Parsons’s dancers or of Franklin’s sometimes searing singing.
Last year, Mr. Parsons brought Mr. McIntyre’s theatrically winning “Ma Maison” (2008), a
carnivalesque Day of the Dead dance, into his company’s repertory, which subsequently led to
the commissioning of “Eight Women.” The newer work misses the artful details of the former
McIntyre effort, but it does give Parsons Dance something more substantive than its artistic
director’s own efforts. It’s to be hoped that Mr. McIntyre will further acquaint himself with Mr.
Parsons’s dancers and come closer to revealing them as memorably as they deserve.”