In The Shadows Behind Us, McIntyre uses the music of the late American countertenor jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott – whose unique range (born of a genetic disorder), oozes heartbreak and longing – to explore our hunger for human connection. Again the setting (by Thomas Mika) is simple – a wide, three-dimensional white frame encasing the top and one side of the space is reflected in a strip of light across the stage.
McIntyre avoids a clear interpretation of the lyrics or melody. Rather, in true jazz style, he fashions the rhythm of the movement like another instrumental voice, underpinning the melody and the distinctive yearning of Scott’s vocals. The blend of jazzy classicism is captivating to watch as the work segues from one lush song to the next in a series of six duets and ensemble pieces.
These travel the gamut of emotion from erotic desire to a soulful yearning, but the highlight was a heart-wrenching duet, set to the touching “Sometimes I feel Like a Motherless Child”, that saw dancers David Power and D’Arcy Brazier combine extraordinary athleticism with luscious contemporary jazz movement.