Second Before the Ground


The Boston Globe

“McIntyre is a talent to watch: His Second Before the Ground is the most exhilarating work I’ve seen by a young choreographer in years.”

The Guardian, London

“Trey McIntyre’s Second Before the Ground was by far the best of the bunch, featuring some arrestingly inventive movement.”

The Sacramento Bee

“”Second Before the Ground” is one of the most exciting and impressive contemporary ballets of the 21st century.”

The Daily Telegraph, London

“The best of the night, and a pleasure to watch, was the opening ballet by a Kansas choreographer, Trey McIntyre. In Second Before the Ground (1995), he took a pretty score of African songs adapted for string quartet and drums, and made to it a flirting, loving, modern-classical ensemble for couples that was choreographically bright and unaffectedly sincere. Enchanting little gestural details between lovers never rang false—rubbed noses, heads patted, pretend tiffs. It is a sweet piece.”

The Baltimore Sun

“The most striking new choreography of the season has had African themes and music: ‘Second Before the Ground,’ by Houston Ballet’s Trey McIntyre.”

Houston Chronicle

“Trey McIntyre’s sunny Second Before the Ground, a three-part celebration of young love, made me tingle. It’s an exceptional piece of choreography…”

The Washington Post

“As the opening piece for the Houston Ballet’s mixed program at the Kennedy Center on Thursday night, Second Before the Ground proved hard to surpass.”

The Miami Herald

“Getting to see Trey McIntyre’s Second Before the Ground was a treat. Unlike many contemporary choreographers, McIntyre doesn’t just use ballet technique as a sexy extension of watered-down modern dance. He uses petit allegro and other steps specific to ballet – but he mixes up rhythm and angle in a way that gives them new focus.”

Pointe Magazine

“[Nina Ananiashvili] always has possessed a star’s presence, whether dancing with the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballets or as a principal with American Ballet Theatre. At the Pillow, however, she shared the crowd’s adulation not only with her partner, Sergei Filin, but also with a man who wasn’t onstage—36-year-old choreographer Trey McIntyre, a relatively fresh face in the dance world. McIntyre’s 1996 ballet Second Before the Ground brought the audience to its feet with the sheer force of its joyousness. It opens with a splash of sunshine in the form of six men in suspenders and baggy yellow pants, jumping high, legs scissoring, backs arching and faces alight. Set to music by the Kronos Quartet, the ballet revolves around three couples, each possessing its own buoyant beauty. The petite Lali Kandelaki flew and fluttered in Irakli Bakhtadze’s arms; Tsisia Cholokashvili, closely embraced by David Khozashvili, made each gesture angular and deliberate; and Ekaterine Chubinidze and Vasil Akhmeteli intertwined in one surprising and lovely way after another.”

The Sun-Sentinel

“Trey McIntyre may be the answer to the dance world’s search for a new Twyla Tharp or Mark Morris. This tremendously gifted choreographer has scored locally with impressive works for Miami City Ballet and Ballet Florida. His 1996 ballet Second Before the Ground is a flashback of the cycle of life before dying with a tangy, rhythmic score by the iconoclastic Kronos Quartet.”


  • Choreography: Trey McIntyre
  • Music: The Kronos Quartet
  • Costumes: The Bisou Consortium
  • Lighting: Christina Giannelli
  • Project Details

  • Premiere Company: Houston Ballet
  • Date of Premiere: January 1, 1996