Cutting a swath through Southern California, that includes two nights at The Soraya in Los Angeles, is a dance evening that promises to be a memorable one.
Turn It Out with Tiler Peck & Friends is a collaboration of artists led by one of ballet’s greatest stars, Tiler Peck. Peck has enjoyed a storied career at New York City Ballet as one of the company’s Principal Dancers, and has also developed a massive presence online where she inspires young ballerinas and impresses balletomanes.
In September 2004, Peck joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice, having studied at the School of American Ballet (the official school of NYCB) for several years. In February 2005, at the age of 16, Peck advanced within the New York City Ballet company becoming a member of the corps de ballet. Peck was promoted to soloist in December 2006 and principal dancer at the New York City Ballet in October 2009.
Described as a dancer who is at the height of her powers, Peck now strikes out to build on her repertoire of her own original work that has been described as “breathtaking,” “dazzling,” and “exhilarating.”
Peck will be joined by an eclectic line-up of dancers and choreographers, including fellow New York City Ballet dancers including the reigning diva of tap dance, Michelle Dorrance; So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 winner Lex Ishimoto; and Jillian Meyers, a lead dancer for performing artist Janet Jackson and who has worked in Hollywood movies such as La La Land and Babylon. Peck will also be joined onstage by fellow New York City Ballet dancers India Bradley, Chun Wai Chan, Jovani Furlan, Christopher Grant, Roman Mejia, Mira Nadon, and Quinn Starner, as well as American Ballet Theatre’s Brooklyn Mack and Dorrance Dance company member Byron Tittle.
The show opens with Thousandth Orange, choreographed by Peck, set to music by Pulitzer-prize winner Caroline Shaw, and is followed by Alonzo King’s Swift Arrow with music by Jason Moran; Time Spell, choreographed by tap dancer Michelle Dorrance, Jillian Meyers, and Tiler Peck with music by Aaron Marcellus and Penelope Wendtlandt. The evening concludes with William Forsythe’s The Barre Project, Blake Works II with music by James Blake.
Turn It Out with Tiler Peck and Friends is making its West Coast premiere at UCSB Arts & Lectures at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on Wednesday, October 25th at 8:00pm; The Soraya in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 28th at 8:00pm and Sunday, October 29th at 3:00pm; San Diego Civic Theatre on Wednesday, November 1st at 7:30pm; and Segerstrom Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Saturday, November 4th at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 5th at 2:00pm. Purchase tickets for The Soraya here.
Turn It Out with Tiler Peck & Friends performance is underwritten by Tim Wahl and Julia Strickland.
From the press conference:
Tiler Peck: “Turn It Out with Tiler Peck and Friends is my love letter to the dance world. It’s what I think is important for audiences to see – a range of dance on the stage by a range of different choreographers. And it means so much to me because two of the works were born during the pandemic. So, there’s a lot of heart and soul that goes into those because we created them during a time when – obviously – no one was being creative. I thought, I just needed to make something happen. So that was The Barre Project, which is the program by William Forsyth and then came Alonzo King’s Swift Arrow project.
“The way both of those happened was just me reaching out to both choreographers and saying, ‘Would you like to work together?’ I’ve always dreamt of working with both Alonzo and William and I had never had the opportunity because our schedules were always conflicting. COVID was not an opportune time, but our schedules were free. I thought maybe we could make little bubbles and do something together. Both Alonso and William were up for the challenge.
“So The Barre Project was created completely over zoom and I will tell you Bill still has yet to see it performed live. He’s only ever seen it on video! And then Alonzo spotted the Swift Arrow and we made a little bubble. I went to San Francisco with my partner Roman; me, him and I were just with Alonzo and his assistant Maddie and we created a work, I want to say in like seven to ten days.
“Those two pieces are very special and dear to me because they were born in a very stressful time, and so there’s a lot of love in them. And I’m so excited for California audiences to get to see both of these live.”
For the program, Peck says she wanted to make sure that there was some cohesive through line connecting the works. It was legendary ballet dancer Misha Baryshnikov who suggested Peck include one of her choreographed works.
Tiler Peck: “I went with his suggestion and so we start the evening with a work called Thousandth Orange, with music by composer Caroline Shaw. Then we move into Alonzo King’s Swift Arrow.”
Alonzo King’s Swift Arrow with music by Jason Moran.
Alonzo King: “Tiler called me, and when she called and said, ‘Would you like to work together?’ I thought, are you kidding? Let’s start now! Tiler on stage is so warm and engaging and magnetic. It’s the same way she is as a human being. And the people that she surrounds herself with, it’s the same thing. It’s brilliant. It’s humanity. They’re nice people and when you’re working together, for long hours, that’s really important.”
Tiler Peck: “I thought, wow, this person really seems like we could complement each other. Like, we had similar strengths, similar, sort of, force. I just thought, ‘Wow, this could be a really great partnership’ and it wasn’t until Swift Arrow that we really got to know each other. We were in San Francisco not knowing anyone. It was a time for us to really become friends inside the studio and it was an amazing, amazing time.”
Can Mr. King talk a little bit about the music?
Alonzo King: “Yes, when Tiler and I talked about working together, I wrote to Jason [Moran] and he gave me a lot of choices. I chose the piece that we’re using. Jason and I have worked together for years and done tons of projects. So we have a real good sympathetic relationship.
“Tyler was coming out of an injury and she just stated I am not going to stop. I’m going to get creative. And I think that that is how all of us human beings on planet Earth need to look at anything when we’re being challenged. Get creative, anything when times are difficult. And Tiler was that – that spark and that light that got us moving, and so I really appreciate it. We had an amazing time. And then Michelle Dorrance — anytime I get to see her work, I’m fascinated the way Michelle plays with the rhythms – it just blows my mind. It’s so sophisticated and so interesting.”
Time Spell, choreographed by tap dancer Michelle Dorrance, Jillian Meyers, and Tiler Peck with music by Aaron Marcellus and Penelope Wendtlandt.
Tiler Peck: “I wanted to create a new work and the person I love to collaborate the most with is Michelle Dorrance, and we don’t get that much time to ever do it. What I love about Michelle is that she is one of the most creative people I know and she didn’t think small for one second, which I think is very much like me. And we brought Jillian Meyers – a friend of Michelle’s who I had never worked with, but the LA audiences know her quite well. She just made the tap, the ballet, and the different disciplines seamlessly come together. I brought together dancers that are my favorite to watch and favorite to be in the room with — they all inspire me. I think they’re extraordinary dancers but also human beings. It’s really exciting to be bringing this to my home state for sure. And I’m so grateful to Thor [Steingraber] for bringing it to Northridge and to The Soraya.”
Michelle Dorrance: “First of all, what Tiler said is true. I think the two of us always have these like glimpses of moments to collaborate. It feels like they’re minutes long… We intersect with each other while we’re making four works at the same time and maybe we’ll have, maybe 15 minutes inside of a rehearsal where we don’t have to be somewhere else. There was one summer where Tiler and I would literally see each other going towards and away from the same rehearsal tent. Like, literally in the back of a golf cart! We would just wave and laugh.
“We were simultaneously creating this work, which was a collaboration with Julian who was flying in and out from LA to come to New York and create. And we were also collaborating with the musicians, the two vocalists who compose the score for this. It was really important when Tiler and I work because there were so many different exciting musical directions that we both share, and a deep, deep love for so many different kinds of music. What we knew what we needed for this work were musicians that could really work with us to try to harness both the community and the energies and the myriad directions that the artistry that was coming together in collaboration to create this work. How do we serve the larger piece? I felt we could only think in the most grandest of terms in order to achieve this particular work because it was insane.
“That is the human that Tiler is. I mean, it’s enough to be a principal ballet dancer and to literally take care of your body to continue to refine your artistry and your technical execution. But to also create, but then also to produce and organize. Tyler’s a hero of mine, even though she’s like, pretty much 10 years younger than I!
“What I’ll say is about this work, Thousandth Orange, is it has such a beautiful opening. It really invites you into the space that is yours creatively, and into who you are. I think that your program is filled with two works that were made during the pandemic and that I think, if anything, Time Spell was about how we were finally able to come back together after the pandemic. And I feel it still really honors that energy. This community of disparate artists, myriad of styles, that needed to share space and this moment, needed to creative. And I think the tension that lives inside of the edges of our different techniques and approaches was really necessary and we needed it. More than anything, we felt it, and we feel it every time we’re on stage together.”
The tour is taking you to Santa Barbara, LA – Northridge, Orange County as well as San Diego. Are there any specific elements of each one of these cities that you’re looking forward to revisiting?
Tiler Peck: “I’m excited. I don’t know Santa Barbara all that well, but I’m excited to be back at that venue that I’ve danced at before. We have so many California natives in this group. Coming to California, I think, was a dream for this tour so that all of our friends and an audience here could really see it. I think that it’s a show that appeals to so many different types of people who watch it.
“I don’t think you have to be a ballet lover or a tech lover to love this show. There’s literally something for everyone. I also really feel for the dancers. Like Michelle said, when we were watching each other, you don’t get these types of dancers on the stage at once, very often. I think dancers watching this type of show can really appreciate just how incredible these dancers are. So I’m excited for those students, who I know that are coming, to get to experience this work.”
Turn It Out with Tiler Peck & Friends
UCSB Arts & Lectures at the Granada Theatre – 1214 State Street Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Wednesday, October 25th at 8:00pm
for tickets, call (805) 893-3535 or visit UCSB.
The Soraya – 18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge, CA 91330
Saturday, October 28th at 8:00pm
Sunday, October 29th at 3:00pm
for tickets, call (818) 677-3000 or visit The Soraya.
San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 3rd Ave San Diego, CA 92101 (Presented by La Jolla Music Society)
Wednesday, November 1st at 7:30pm
for tickets, call (858) 459-3728 or visit The Conrad.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts – 600 Town Center Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Saturday, November 4th at 7:30pm
Sunday, November 5th at 2:00pm
for tickets, call (714) 556-2787 or visit SCFTA.