Varied Trio (in four)* (Harrison/Frohlich)
The Runaway* (Nico Muhly, Kanye West, Jay-Z, James Blake/Abraham)
*indicates SPAC premiere
Varied Trio (in four) is a collection of short dances for a couple whose movements resonate with the simple, minimalist Lou Harrison score.
Set to a commissioned score for full orchestra, Justin Peck’s new work – his fourth collaboration with Oscar-nominated composer Sufjan Stevens – will hold its world premiere as part of New York City Ballet’s winter season.
Kyle Abraham’s choreographic perspective takes center stage in The Runaway, which fuses modern and classical technique, accented by dramatic lighting, imaginative costumes by Giles Deacon, and an eclectic soundtrack mixing composer Nico Muhly, singer James Blake, and hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Kanye West.
- In the fall of 2009, Peck participated in the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of NYCB, and in 2011, Peck received NYCI’s first year-long choreographic residency. Peck choreographed six works for New York City Ballet in two years and was named Resident Choreographer, the second in the Company’s history, in July 2014.
- Peck had been a fan of Stevens since his days at the School of American Ballet, and remembers emailing Stevens a few years prior to their first project together – one that Stevens admits he ignored. Luckily, they had a mutual friend that introduced them, and, after a fair amount of convincing, Stevens agreed to produce the score for Peck’s Year of the Rabbit.
- Stevens was initially quite skeptical about the thought of creating music for Peck’s first ballet. For one, Stevens was asked to adapt his album Enjoy Your Rabbit, one that he even said was “a ramshackle little personal hobby project.” For another, Stevens was still recovering from his previous major classical outing, The BQE. One that he says had its strength and weaknesses, but mostly weaknesses.
- Kyle Abraham, the first black artist to create a work for the ballet company in more than a decade, constructed The Runaway as a memento of his community as well as early West appreciation. It expressed the joys and pitfalls of West’s public persona as experienced through his music, with songs like “Power” and “I Thought About Killing You” covering ground from the last decade of his career.
Read more here:
- Justin Peck: https://www.nycballet.com/Dancers/Dancers-Bios/Justin-Peck.aspx
- SUFJAN STEVENS AND JUSTIN PECK IN MOTION: https://www.interviewmagazine.com/culture/sufjan-stevens-justin-peck-nycb
- Sufjan Stevens’s Ballet Lessons: http://nymag.com/arts/classicaldance/dance/features/sufjan-stevens-justin-peck-year-of-the-rabbit-2012-10/
- The Making of a Kanye West Ballet: https://wwd.com/eye/parties/kanye-west-new-york-city-ballet-kyle-abraham-1202853963/