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Justin Peck and San Francisco Ballet Premiere ‘In the Countenance of Kings’

By Philip Trapp on Mar 30, 2016 11:37 PM EDT
Justin Peck NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Justin Peck attends 'Ballet 442' New York Premiere at Florence Gould Hall on February 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo : Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Rising-star choreographer Justin Peck will premiere a work with the San Francisco Ballet this spring titled In the Countenance of Kings featuring music from frequent Peck collaborator and acclaimed indie songster Sufjan Stevens.

The 28-year-old dance soloist is resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet and subject of the recent documentary Ballet 422. This will be the dancer's third collaboration with Stevens, who supplied the music for 2012's Year of the Rabbit and 2014's Everywhere We Go.

The choreographer has been celebrated in dance circles of late, being the only dancer to hold the Ballet's residence title besides Christopher Wheeldon, who performed the duty from 2001-2008.

In speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle about the new piece, Peck displayed his appreciation for working with other troupes besides his regular dance company back in New York:

"[T]here's something refreshing about going to work with a different group of dancers. There are different ways of moving, different ways in which the institution functions. There's a contrast from place to place, so the variety and the experience of working in a different place feeds me."

Peck imbues his performances with gratuitous amounts of skill and energy, showing no sign of stopping in the near future. In an interview with DanceTabs, the dancer explained his meticulous preparation for each show: 

"I spend a lot of time in the studio improvising and using my own body as an instrument. I try to put a lot of thought into individual movement before I start working with the dancers, because time is so limited. So, I always try to come into the studio as prepared as possible. Usually I spend a couple of hours by myself in the studio before I get to work with the dancers."

In the Countenance of Kings is featured as part of the San Francisco Ballet's new "Program 7," showing April 7-17 at the War Memorial Opera House. The show also features Continuum by cohort Wheeldon, with music by György Ligeti. Tickets are available from www.sfballet.org.

View a promotional video for In the Countenance of Kings below.

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TagsJustin Peck, San Francisco Ballet