âThe future of ballet is really in the hands of the creators,â Mr. Peck said, âso if itâs something that interests them to push the envelope with gender roles, then I think it will change. But if thatâs not of interest to a dance-maker, if their interest is to sort of preserve the way things have been done for the past 200 years, then nothing is going to change.â
For the dancers, the roles feel like opportunities to express themselves in more nuanced ways. âI think for gay ballet dancers, you rarely get to be yourself,â Mr. Stanley said. Mr. Chamblee, his partner in âNot Our Fate,â and Daniel Applebaum, his partner in âTimes Are Racing,â are also gay. Mr. Peck and Ms. Lovette are straight.
Mr. Peck has been struck by the way Mr. Stanley and Mr. Applebaum have changed the tone of his pas de deux. âSomehow it feels more romantic to me,â Mr. Peck said. âAt one of the early rehearsals, Daniel said, âItâs so nice to get to step into a role where I feel I could actually potentially fall in love with the person Iâm dancing with, as opposed to pretending to be a prince falling in love with a princess.ââ
Robert La Fosse, a former choreographer who danced with both City Ballet and American Ballet Theater, has been active on Mr. Ratmanskyâs Facebook feed. In an interview Mr. La Fosse said: âItâs very interesting that weâre looking at it now. And itâs good. Itâs a conversation, and I think Justin and Lauren are wrestling with it: How do we become current?â
For his pas de deux, Mr. Peck has made small tweaks so that each dancer takes a turn leading the other; learning how to be the supported one has been an adjustment for both. âThereâs a constant exchange of whoâs leading and whoâs in charge,â Mr. Applebaum said. âSo you have to switch on a dime.â
At one point in…