"Is that how I sound?" exclaimed dancer Tiler Peck, reminding everyone around her at the premiere screening of the documentary Ballet 422 that ballerinas are usually seen and not heard. Peck was not even aware of the cameras because Jody Lee Lipes' film was meant to be a promotional short; that he was taking sound was news. Lipes had so much rich footage, the decision to make a feature seemed the next big move. The result, an engrossing backstage glimpse into the making of a ballet from dancer/ choreographer Justin Peck's initial conception through casting, lighting, costuming, and the vital give-and-take between choreographer and dancers up to the staging of the New York City Ballet's 422nd work, "Paz de la Jolla." Justin Peck (no relation to Tiler) is part of the NYC Ballet's corps de ballet, and like Tiler, became part of the 90-dancer group at age 15. Among other revelations is that dancers double in other aspects of the ballet's creation.
At the afterparty, at Florence Gould Hall's Skytop, Tiler Peck compared notes with Parker Posey on the shock of seeing oneself in film: it does take a beat. Where has Parker Posey been? She was filming the new Woody Allen movie, Irrational Man, due this summer. She also made a television series at Brigham Young, yes, that's Mormon, "much closer to my sensibility than shoot 'em ups in Hollywood." She's planning something, not sure what, with her date, dancer Jack Ferver. "You know, you have to make your own material," she said wisely. Meantime, the film's talented dancer/ costume designer Reid Bartelme in a camel colored sweater gamely vamped in front of cameras, a deer, an antelope, raising his hands above his head and wiggling fingers into antler shape.
When asked how he feels about the movie showcasing his work, Justin Peck said, "It feels old." After all, he's choreographed at least five more since this creation.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.