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Justin Peck

The resident choreographer and a soloist dancer with the New York City Ballet, Justin Peck has performed principal roles in such productions as George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, 1941, and Firebird, 1949; Jerome Robbins’s West Side Story Suite, 1995; and Benjamin Millepied’s Plainspoken, 2010. As a choreographer, he has received commissions from numerous institutions, including the School of American Ballet and the New World Symphony. He is currently at work on a new interpretation of Aaron Copland’s Rodeo, 1942, for the New York City Ballet, which will premiere at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on February 4.

  1. ANNE TERESA DE KEERSMAEKER, RAIN (OPERA GARNIER, PARIS, OCTOBER 21–NOVEMBER 7, 2014)

    While passing through Paris in October, I had the opportunity to witness this masterpiece, the choreography for which is set to Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. De Keersmaeker’s production improbably adds even greater variety and progression to Reich’s minimalist score, which is detailed and repetitive yet dynamic. This work’s balanced design—with sets and lighting by Jan Versweyveld and costumes by Dries Van Noten—supports the notion that dance can be the point of symbiosis between artistic mediums. Above all, Rain is a celebration of the dance form’s vitality.

    *Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, _Rain_, 2001.* Performance view, Opera Garnier, Paris, October 2014. Photo: Benoite Fanton. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Rain, 2001. Performance view, Opera Garnier, Paris, October 2014. Photo: Benoite Fanton.
  2. MARY KATRANTZOU

    is charting new territory in the world of fashion design; her provocative work exceeds the traditional parameters of what clothes can be. The Greek-born designer employs hypergraphic digital prints and near-Baroque embroidery to produce theatrical pieces: Each look tells an entire story. Her spring/summer 2015 collection turned to Pangaea and Panthalassa.

  3. MARK MORRIS, WORDS (NEW YORK CITY CENTER, OCTOBER 8–9, 2014)

    Mark Morris is famous for his choreography, dance, and stage direction, but he also has a comprehensive understanding of music. He is able to faithfully interpret musical scores in dance terms, as evidenced in Words, for which he worked with ten of the forty-eight pieces in Felix Mendelssohn’s eight-volume series “Lieder ohne Worte” (Songs Without Words, 1829–45). Words features sixteen dancers who utilize simple, pedestrian movements as they converge and disperse with a spontaneity typically unseen in dance. Morris brilliantly stabilizes this apparent contingency with a strong choreographic structure.

    *Mark Morris, _Words_, 2014.* Performance view, dress rehearsal, New York City Center, October 7, 2014. Noah Vinson and Jenn Weddel. Photo: Ani Collier. Mark Morris, Words, 2014. Performance view, dress rehearsal, New York City Center, October 7, 2014. Noah Vinson and Jenn Weddel. Photo: Ani Collier.
  4. CAROLINE SHAW, PARTITA FOR 8 VOICES (2011)

    Just when I thought there wasn’t anything left to explore in classical music written for voice, Caroline Shaw blew me out of the water with her composition Partita for 8 Voices, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2013, becoming the music prize’s youngest recipient. While Shaw’s engagements with timing, rhythm, wordplay, and vocal range are completely unconventional, this suite in four movements still resonates with the vernacular of classical music.

  5. PHILIP GLASS, SATYAGRAHA (1979)

    An opera that turned the form on its head, Satyagraha moves through loose interpretations of pivotal moments from Mahatma Gandhi’s early years in South Africa (1893–1914), when the future leader of the Indian independence movement developed the theory of nonviolence that gives this opera its name. With unorthodox pacing that makes you feel as though you were moving underwater and music that has a trancelike effect, this work wavers between narrative and abstraction—a distinction that has always interested me.

  6. GEORGE BALANCHINE

    As a student at the School of American Ballet, I was able to attend any New York City Ballet performance for free—so I went every night. I quickly became enthralled with George Balanchine’s work and with his ability to accentuate, punctuate, counter, and enhance music with choreography. He brought this sensibility to astute collaborations with such composers and artists as Igor Stravinsky, Isamu Noguchi, Paul Hindemith, and Marc Chagall. This exposure to Balanchine catalyzed my decision to devote my entire life to dance.

    *George Balanchine, _Firebird_, 1949.* Performance view, David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, May 13, 2012. Set by Marc Chagall. Photo: Paul Kolnik. © The George Balanchine Trust. George Balanchine, Firebird, 1949. Performance view, David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, May 13, 2012. Set by Marc Chagall. Photo: Paul Kolnik. © The George Balanchine Trust.
  7. MIAMI

    A Miami City Ballet commission has brought me to this city quite a bit in recent months, and I’ve been surprised to discover a real renaissance—the pastel-hued city of old now feels vibrant, young, and optimistic. From the new Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and the Frank Gehry–designed New World Center to the Wynwood Arts District (whose abundance of street murals is unmatched), Miami’s new institutions contribute to its status as one of America’s cities of distinction—one of the most culturally diverse and urgent places to be.

    *Herzog & de Meuron, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2013*. Photo: Dan Lundbert/Flickr. Herzog & de Meuron, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2013. Photo: Dan Lundbert/Flickr.
  8. MARCEL DZAMA (DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK)

    Last September, Marcel Dzama presented “Une Danse des Bouffons” (A Jester’s Dance), a solo exhibition at David Zwirner featuring drawings, sculpture, video, dioramas, and installations that foregrounded the artist’s ranging imagination and his particular brand of ritualistic scenarios. In the painting This spark will prove a raging fire, 2014, some pagan ceremony is pictured at the very moment an alchemical combustion produces from a neat geometric seed a bull engulfed in flames, suggesting that with luck and proportion, art might be transcendent.

    *Marcel Dzama, _The one who laughs_, 2014*, printed steel, spray paint, 20 1/2 × 11 × 11". Marcel Dzama, The one who laughs, 2014, printed steel, spray paint, 20 1/2 × 11 × 11".
  9. “CHRIS OFILI: NIGHT AND DAY” (NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK)

    Employing materials as diverse as glitter and elephant dung, and threading together references ranging from hip-hop to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Chris Ofili makes kaleidoscopic paintings and drawings that seem almost animated. This remarkable survey (on view through January 25) features work spanning the past twenty years, demonstrating the artist’s constant reinvention of his practice.

  10. TERROIR

    Some of my best ideas have emerged while enjoying good food, good wine, and good company. The TriBeCa location of Terroir is one of my standbys; in fact, plans for Paz de La Jolla, 2013, were developed on the wine bar’s napkins over Riesling and meatballs.