The New York Times recently did a Facebook Live event with Peck, following her as she chose and prepped her shoes for the evening's performance. (She was about to dance in Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition.) Peck is a crazy perfectionist onstage—it's one of the qualities that makes her so compelling—and she's just as much of a crazy perfectionist about her shoes.
In case you don't have 40 minutes to spare, here are a few of the fun facts we learned during her broadcast:
-She has custom Freeds, and wears slightly different sizes on her right and left feet. -She has favorite shoe "months"—i.e., every pair of shoes is marked by the Freed maker with the month it was made, and each month feels a little different. -Sometimes she can tell if a shank is good by the way it sounds when she bends it. -She'll wear nine pairs of shoes this week alone. -She rosins the inside of her shoes as well as the outside. -She'll spend up to 30 minutes picking out just the right pair of shoes for a role. -She has a special "tapping spot" onstage where she tests her shoes to make sure they're quiet.
But if you do have 40 minutes to spare, it's worth watching the whole thing. Peck talks about all kinds of stuff as she sews her shoes—everything from her training history to her husband Robbie Fairchild's performances in the West End production of An American in Paris (d'awww). It's fascinating, and strangely soothing.
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!