Taylor Stanley (front) and Daniel Applebaum rehearsing Justin Peck's The Times Are Racing (via Instagram)

Justin Peck's Gender-Neutral Ballet Casting Is Brilliant

If you're a ballet person, your feeds are probably full of gorgeous previews of Justin Peck's new work for New York City Ballet, set to premiere tomorrow night. Excited as we are about that, though, we're almost more excited that Peck's The Times Are Racingwhich NYCB debuted in January—is returning to the stage this fall.

Why? Well, firstly, we can't get enough of its powerful, infectious energy (or its fabulous costumes by Opening Ceremony). But we also love, love, love the way Peck has been experimenting with gender-blind casting in the piece.

In the first performance of The Times Are Racing, Peck himself danced a thrilling tap-inspired duet with Robert Fairchild, giving us all kinds of West Side Story vibes. (You can see most of it in this trailer video.) Later that month, Peck cast a woman and a man, Ashly Isaacs and Taylor Stanley, in the same duet. The new pair revealed an entirely different—and equally mesmerizing—dynamic.

This season, Peck's mixing things up again. On October 12, the ballet's central pas de deux, first danced by girl-guy pair Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar, will be performed by two men, Taylor Stanley and Daniel Applebaum. Peck just posted a clip of the two navigating the intricate partnering, and it looks AMAZING.

"A major part of #TheTimesAreRacing has been an exploration of gender neutrality...to see how far we can push equality amongst the sexes through the lens of ballet," Peck says in the caption. "It's been very special to collaborate and monitor this new pulse of the duet...to witness how the dynamics and counterbalance of Daniel Applebaum (@dapplebaum) and Taylor Stanley (@t_stanley) can shift the impact and meaning of the choreography."

Slow. Clap. 👏

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search