Justin Peck, New York City Ballet Company
New York City Ballet previously announced that 24-year-old corps de ballet member Justin Peck has been commissioned to create two new ballets for NYCB, his first-ever for the Company. The first ballet will have its World Premiere on Saturday, July 14 at NYCB’s summer home, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, in Saratoga Springs, New York, as part of NYCB’s annual SPAC season, which will run from today, July 10 through July 21. The second ballet will premiere on Friday, October 5 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center as part of NYCB’s 2012 fall season, which will run from September 18 through October 14. The Saratoga premiere will take place at SPAC’s annual Ballet Gala as part of a special “21st Century” program.
The one-time-only evening will also include Christopher Wheeldon’s most recent ballet for NYCB, Les Carillons, and a new work by Benjamin Millepied that will premiere on May 10 as part of NYCB’s 2012 Spring Season at Lincoln Center. Peck’s Saratoga premiere will be set to composer Philip Glass’ Four Movements for Two Pianos, which was composed in 2008. This year marks Glass’ 75th birthday, with the music world celebrating his extraordinary body of work with performances and events around the country. During SPAC’s 1985 season, Glass also served as the venue’s first-ever composer in residence.
The new Glass/Peck ballet will also be the first world premiere presented by NYCB at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in more than 25 years, and only the seventh SPAC premiere in NYCB history. The last ballet to premiere at SPAC was Peter Martins’ Eight Miniatures in 1985, and other SPAC premieres have included George Balanchine’s and Alexandra Danilova’s production of Coppélia in 1974 and Balanchine’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier in 1975. In addition to the world premiere performance at SPAC, the Glass/Peck ballet will also be performed by NYCB’s new touring group, New York City Ballet MOVES, at the Vail International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado, and at Dancers’ Workshop in Jackson, Wyoming during July and August 2012. Peck’s second World Premiere for NYCB will take place on Friday, October 5 as part of the Company’s 2012 Fall Season at Lincoln Center.
This work will be a collaboration with composer Sufjan Stevens and will be set to music the American singer-songwriter wrote for Enjoy Your Rabbit, an electronica album and song cycle based on the Chinese zodiac. For the new ballet, Stevens and Peck are currently collaborating on all aspects of the production, including a new orchestration of Enjoy Your Rabbit, created specifically for the ballet. The Stevens/Peck ballet will be an elaboration of Peck’s Tales of a Chinese Zodiac, which the choreographer created on students from the School of American Ballet for the New York Choreographic Institute’s 2010 summer session, and was then presented at the Institute’s 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University in November 2010. For the Institute, Peck choreographed three sections of Stevens’ Enjoy Your Rabbit, and for the NYCB production he will choreograph the complete song cycle. A California native, Peck began training at the School of American Ballet, the official school of NYCB, in the summer of 2003. He was offered an apprenticeship with the Company in 2006 and joined the corps de ballet in 2007. Peck first tried his hand at choreography in 2009 at the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of NYCB, which was created by Peter Martins and the late philanthropist Irene Diamond in 2000 to provide a laboratory for choreographic exploration. Since then Peck has participated in three working sessions at the Institute, and in July of 2011, Martins designatEd Peck to receive the Institute’s first year-long choreographic residency.