The Boogeyman


New York Times

“Trey McIntyre, the choreographer of the other premiere and a recurrent creator for BalletX (and, less frequently, Pennsylvania Ballet), has long been one of America’s most touching dance dramatists: He loves to oppose the social and antisocial, loneliness and conviviality. His new piece, “The Boogeyman,” is set to a selection of 1970s numbers (Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Gilbert O’Sullivan). It shows one young man (Roderick Phifer) having a solitary party in his bedroom with the music played on his headset, with six other young people coming and going as if in a club elsewhere.

The ballet also shows a similarly isolated young woman (Andrea Yorita), unanswered calls from a pay phone and failures of communication, until finally the two lead characters find each other. By Mr. McIntyre’s standards, this narrative is bordering on the twee. And yet the vulnerability and ardor he releases in these characters makes it endearing.”

The Wall Street Journal

““The Boogeyman,” by Trey McIntyre, gives this bill a work of witty, entertaining dance theater. In his brief program statement, the choreographer dedicates his seven-part dance, set to as many recorded songs, “to the Soul Train Dancers from the 70s.”

Worked around designer Andrea Lauer’s movable set-piece that serves as a single bed and upends to become a section of paneled rec room with wall phone, “Boogeyman” plays with boogie, in the social, teen-dancing sense, while also toying with the meaning of boogeyman, the imaginary, spooky creature that might lurk under a youngster’s bed. Mr. McIntyre works all such references and more into his lively suite about young people and their dancing lives.

Cool Roderick Phifer and dynamic Andrea Yorita emerge from the cast of eight as central figures in the choreographer’s flights of fancy that pay tribute to the dance and dancers of ’70s TV. Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up, Part 1” sets “Boogeyman” off as Mr. Phifer is shown grooving in his bedroom to the music we sense coming through the headphones clasped on his head.

Eventually, Ms. Yorita is seen on the bed where she dances, sometimes flopping and diving with her pillow as a partner. Additionally, three men and three women enter the picture, all dancing around as if in their own worlds. Given their prominent presentation and evident attraction for each other, Mr. Phifer and Ms. Yorita remain dominant, jiving and cavorting in and around a bed and a room.

Once the setting gets rearranged and we see the wall and its telephone, things turn more dramatic and also more reflective of the era of “Soul Train.” Facing lanes of dancers mark time as, two by two, different couples take turns strolling forth. When Stevie Wonder’s “Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer” enters the mix, Ms. Yorita’s melancholy moves suggest she’s entertaining thoughts of hanging herself with her phone’s cord.

In the end, to Mr. Wonder’s “I Wish,” the featured couple finds itself in an embrace staged like a slow-motion close-up of reconciled individuals. It’s a clincher with indications that there’s likely more to come.”


  • Choreography: Trey McIntyre
  • Music: Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Johnny Nash, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Earth, Wind, and Fire
  • Costumes: Andrea Lauer
  • Set: Andrea Lauer
  • Lighting: Mark Stanley
  • Project Details

  • Premiere Company: BalletX
  • Date of Premiere: March 7, 2018