This fall, NYCB’s bill of newly commissioned works was something of a gamble. Save for Justin Peck, the choreographers were dark horses, relative unknowns outside of their company and locale. I suspect this has to do with age more than anything else; four of the five (the exception being Kim Brandstrup) have yet to reach their thirtieth birthday. Peck, Myles Thatcher, Robert Binet, and Troy Schumacher are young men with corps de ballet experience (Peck was only recently promoted to the soloist rank) who have been given a platform, one of the most prestigious in the ballet world, in order to display their wares. The move on NYCB’s part probably had something to do with the title of Peck’s ballet, “New Blood”—youth is supposed to provide much needed relief for the ossifying classical arts—and the hope that, given Peck’s popular traction and commercial success, this model could be replicated by other twenty-something male choreographers.
Teresa Reichlen and Joseph Gordon in Troy Schumacher's “Common Ground.” Photograph by Paul Kolnik
One way to get to know the history of a company is through the “liner notes” of its “Swan Lake” production, and for those of us continuing to build an admiring familiarity with Pacific Northwest Ballet via its digital season offerings, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell’s “Swan Lake” provides an interesting glimpse into PNB prior to Peter Boal’s leadership.FREE ARTICLE