At 28 years old, Justin Peck has already been hailed as an important new voice in 21st-century choreography. He is currently a soloist dancer and the Resident Choreographer with New York City Ballet. Peck, originally from San Diego, California, moved to New York at the age of 15 to attend the School of American Ballet. In 2006, he was invited by ballet master in-chief Peter Martins to become a member of the New York City Ballet.
Since joining New York City Ballet, Peck has danced extensive repertoire, including principal roles in George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, The Firebird, Liebeslieder Walzer, Tchaikovsky Suite #3, La Sonnambula, The Four Temperaments, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Jerome Robbin's West Side Story, The Cage, I'm Old Fashioned, Glass Pieces, NY Export: Opus Jazz, Ives Songs; Alexei Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH; Benjamin Millepied's Plainspoken and Why am I not Where you Are; Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries, Thou Swell, Waltz Project, Romeo and Juliet; and Christopher Wheeldon's Scenes De Ballet and Estancia.
Although his time at City Ballet has been eminently stimulating, Peck eventually found himself itching to explore another creative interest: choreography. Since his debut as a choreographer in 2009, he has created works for the New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, the New York Choreographic Institute, the School of American Ballet, the Miami City Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Guggenheim Museum, NY Fall For Dance, the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival, and more. He has been recognized for his choreographic promise, and has received favorable reviews from the New York Times, the Daily News, Vanity Fair Magazine, Vogue, New York Magazine, The Last Magazine, and Dance Magazine, to name a few. In 2013, he was nominated for the International Benois De La Danse Award for new choreography. In 2015, Peck's ballet Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes won the Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. His work has been consecutively included in the New York Times year end best-of lists for 2012 2013, and 2014.
In July of 2011, he was appointed by Peter Martins as the first active Choreographer-in-Residency of the New York Choreographic Institute for the 2011/2012 annual season - a newly created position underneath the functioning artistic umbrella of the New York City Ballet.
In 2014, Peck was appointed Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet, making him the second choreographer in the history of the Institution to hold this position. Learn more.
In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated
Music Thom Willems (1987)
This piece was composed for William Forsythe’s eponymous ballet company.
The strength of a work is based on its simplicity. In the Middle, lacking in any external effects, is concentrated in the traditional formula theme and variations. The main theme, danced by the ballerina, increases progressively in relation with the number of dancers, until the result of the groupbecomes much more complex variations and pas de deux. The pretended disdain of the dancers contrasts with the strict and severe technical demands.
Thom Willems worked in the same way, proposing themes and modifying them during the whole rehearsal process. His music is based on urban sounds and is made of contrasts, between aggressive turbulences and soft sonorities.
The title of the ballet refers to two golden cherries, which hang above from the centre of the stage, and which lead to a minimal reflexion within the huge interior of l’Opéra de Paris, the space in which this ballet was created.
Listen to the piece composed for William Forsythe's ballet.
Choreography William Forsythe
Raised in New York and principally trained in Florida with Nolan Dingman and Christa Long, Forsythe danced with the Joffrey Ballet and later the Stuttgart Ballet, where he was appointed Resident Choreographer in 1976. Over the next seven years, he created new works for the Stuttgart ensemble and ballet companies in Munich, The Hague, London, Basel, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. In 1984, he began a 20-year tenure as director of the Ballet Frankfurt, where he created works such as Artifact (1984), Impressing the Czar (1988), Limb’s Theorem (1990), The Loss of Small Detail (1991, in collaboration with composer Thom Willems and designer Issey Miyake), Eidos:Telos (1995), Endless House (1999), Kammer/Kammer (2000), and Decreation (2003).
In collaboration with media specialists and educators, Forsythe has developed new approaches to dance documentation, research, and education. His 1994 computer application Improvisation Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye, developed with the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, is used as a teaching tool by professional companies, dance conservatories, universities, postgraduate architecture programs, and secondary schools worldwide. 2009 marks the launch of Synchronous Objects for One Flat Thing, reproduced, a digital online score developed with The Ohio State University that reveals the organizational principles of the choreography and demonstrates their possible application within other disciplines.
As an educator, Forsythe is regularly invited to lecture and give workshops at universities and cultural institutions. In 2002, Forsythe was chosen as the founding Dance Mentor for The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. He currently co-directs and teaches in the Dance Apprentice Network aCross Europe (D.A.N.C.E.) program, an interdisciplinary professional insertion program based at Dresden’s Palucca Schule. Forsythe is an Honorary Fellow at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in London and holds an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School in New York.
JIRÍ KYLIÁN started his dance career at the age of nine, at the School of the National Ballet in Prague. In 1962 he was accepted as a student at the Prague Conservatory. He left Prague when he received a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London in 1967. After this, he left to join the Stuttgart Ballet led by John Cranko. Kylián made his debut as a choreographer here with Paradox for the Noverre Gesellschaft. After having
made three ballets for Nederlands Dans Theater (Viewers, Stoolgame and La Cathédrale Engloutie), he became artistic director of the company in 1975. In 1978 he put Nederlands Dans Theater on the international map with Sinfonietta. That same year, together with Carel Birnie, he founded Nederlands Dans Theater II, which served as a bridge between school and professional company life and was meant to give young dancers the opportunity to develop their skills and talents and to function as a breeding ground for young talent. He also initiated Nederlands Dans Theater III in 1991, the company for older dancers, above forty years of age. This three dimensional structure was unique in the world of dance. After an extraordinary record of service, Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but remained associated with the dance company as house choreographer until December 2009. Jirí Kylián has created nearly 100 works of which many are performed all over the world. Kylián has not
only made works for Nederlands Dans Theater, but also for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsoper Münich, Swedish television and the Tokyo Ballet.
Kylián has worked with many creative personalities of international stature—composers: Arne Nordheim (Ariadne 1997), Toru Takemitsu (Dream Time 1983)—designers: Walter Nobbe (Sinfonietta 1978), Bill Katz (Symphony of Psalms 1978), John Macfarlane (Forgotten Land 1980), Michael Simon (Stepping Stones 1991), Atsushi Kitagawara (One of a Kind 1998), Susumu Shingu (Toss of a Dice 2005), Yoshiki Hishinuma (Zugvögel 2009).
In the summer of 2006, together with Film Art Director, Boris Paval Conen, he created the film CAR-MEN. It was choreographed “on location” on the surface brown coal mines of the Czech Republic. In 2010, Kylián served as Mentor in Dance in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In 2013, together with NTR, he created the film BEWTEEN ENTRANCE & EXIT which was nominated as one of the contestants for the ‘Gouden Kalf’ award during the Dutch Film Festival 2013 in Utrecht. For the Aichi Trienalle in Nagoya, Japan, he created the full-evening dance/film production, EAST SHADOW which was dedicated to the victims of the Tsunami in Japan in 2011.
In the course of his career, Kylián received many international awards including: “Officer of the Orange Order”—Netherlands, “Honorary Doctorate”—Juilliard School New York, three “Nijinsky Awards”—Monte Carlo (best choreographer, company and work), “Benoit de la Dance”—Moscow and Berlin, “Honorary Medal” of the President of the Czech Republic, “Commander of the Legion d’honneur” France, and in 2008 he was distinguished with one of the highest royal honors, the Medal of the Order of the House of Orange given to him by Her Majesty the Queen Beatrix from the Netherlands. In 2011, Kylián received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of dance and theater by the Czech Ministry of Culture in Prague.
Eric Himy, Pianist, has intrigued audiences and received critical acclaim in the United States and throughout the world, most notably at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, The Frick Collection, The Phillips Collection, Teatro Amazonas, Salle Cortot and Salle Gaveau in Paris and on NPR “Performance Today”. A champion of contemporary composers, Himy commissioned “Gargoyles” by the American composer Lowell Liebermann and gave the world premiere at his debut recital in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. He has been awarded the Gold Medal at the 1988 World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, the Kosciuszko Chopin Prize in New York, and top honors in the 1991 Milosz Magin International Competition in Paris. Himy studied biochemistry and music at the University of Maryland, and received a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School. He was invited by the Bernstein family to celebrate the 90th anniversary tribute to Leonard Bernstein in a Gala concert at the 2008 Lukas Foss Music Festival in the Hamptons. His recordings include all-Ravel; the original manuscript version of Rhapsody in Blue in an all-Gershwin CD featuring his own transcriptions and those of Earl Wild; and Schumann. In 2010, Himy celebrated Chopin’s 200th Anniversary by performing more than 40 concerts worldwide. He also gave several performances of the Chopin Piano Concerto no. 1, one notably at the 2010 Marienbad Chopin Festival in the Czech Republic, and made his debut at the Bayreuth Steingraeber Festival in Germany. In 2011, Mr. Himy celebrated Liszt’s 200th Anniversary with performances at the Salle Molière in Lyons, Carnegie Hall, and at the famed Teatru Manoel in Malta. Himy performed in the 2012 Pietrasanta Music Festival, Italy for the King and Queen of Belgium. In 2013, Himy performed with Saint Petersburg Symphony in Russia under Vladimir Lande who re-invited him in 2014 to perform the Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. He was also invited in 2013 and 2014 to perform in Brussels, and in 2014 also performed at the 2014 Pietrasanta Music Festival in Italy and with Napa Music Festival Orchestra. In 2016 he performed in Puerto Rico on the Grand Pianists Series. In 2017 Mr. Himy will be performing with pianist Shaun Tirrell in various concerts including Bayreuth.
Glenn Sales, Pianist, has been well-known to Washington, DC audiences since his National Symphony Orchestra debut at age 14 and his subsequent invitations as soloist with NSO. Sales attended the Juilliard School on scholarship and was been featured in 1980 on PBS as the winner of the Beethoven Fellowship for American Pianists in a performance of Chopin’s Etudes, Opus 25. He has been a guest pianist at American Ballet Theatre since 1990 and has also played for The Royal Ballet, The Paris Opera Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Washington Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet for performances as well as a film for the Balanchine Foundation of Meditation. Sales has collaborated with Damian Woetzel and Yo-Yo Ma in various projects at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, various public schools in the Washington, DC vicinity, the Smithsonian Institution Hirshorn Museum and The White House.