The Ballerina Who Can Stop Time (and Restart It, Too)

For two weeks, starting Saturday, July 29, Ms. Peck will be resident high in the Colorado Rockies at the Vail International Dance Festival. Damian Woetzel has been that festival’s artistic director since 2006; thanks to his faith in her, Vail is where Ms. Peck’s ever-increasing versatility has been most evident.

Photo

Ms. Peck and Andrew Veyette, center, with members of City Ballet in George Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” (Tchaikovsky) in April. Ms. Peck started City Ballet’s spring season dancing this role with a new plasticity.

Credit
Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Ms. Peck and Mr. Woetzel both learned Twyla Tharp’s “Sinatra Suite” for the 2008 festival; she was 19, he was more than 20 years her senior. It was Mr. Woetzel’s final appearance as a dancer. In later years at the festival, Ms. Peck has been partnered by Jeffrey Cirio, Herman Cornejo, James Whiteside (all principals of American Ballet Theater) and Sergei Polunin (then at the Royal Ballet); she has danced Paul Taylor’s modern dance idiom barefoot and Memphis jookin with Lil Buck; and she has teamed with the master clown-actor Bill Irwin in “Time It Was.”

She’ll be busy this year in Vail. Among much else, she’ll dance a new work by the tap choreographer Michelle Dorrance and two items by Balanchine, the “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux,” with Mr. Cirio, and the coloratura show piece “Divertimento Brillante,” with Joseph Gordon (City Ballet).

It was in the “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux” at the Guggenheim Museum in 2009 that Ms. Peck first revealed her hummingbird-like ability to pause (as if hovering) in midsequence, braking the flow without jarring, commanding time as lesser mortals know not how. This pas de deux, familiar around the world for decades, has had no finer…

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