Dancers Trending

Justin Peck on His Tony Win—and What Really Fuels the Broadway Community

Peck transferred his choreographic talents from the ballet stage to Broadway for Carousel. Photo by Julieta Cervantes, Courtesy DKC/O&M.

Could Justin Peck be any busier? In the midst of pulling triple duty at New York City Ballet—as a soloist, resident choreographer and a member of its interim artistic team—he also managed to choreograph a Broadway show. Then, last month, on his first try, he won a Tony Award for best choreography for the revival of Carousel.

The morning after the ceremony, he shared an exuberant Instagram post: As he exited the stage after winning, he ran into the Carousel sailors backstage as they were entering to perform "Blow High, Blow Low" for the telecast. He wrote: "None of them knew we had just been awarded the Tony, and I stood in front of them holding the award, speechless. They erupted in excitement and we exchanged a beautiful moment of embraces, cheers, and happiness. Certainly the highlight of the night for me!" Recently, via email, we caught up with the peripatetic Mr. Peck.

In your wildest dreams did you ever imagine you'd win a Tony on your first try?

No way! I had dreamt of it for a long, long time, though. I always watch the award ceremony on TV each year. And I love to see how the theater community celebrates their collective annual achievements. The inclusive and festive nature of the Tonys is something I always admired. So it was surreal to get to partake in that.

Do you think it will be possible to continue dancing and choreographing at NYCB and working on Broadway?

I love theater and dance, and I'm certainly lucky to get to partake in both communities. So I'm hoping to find a way to sustain further interaction within the two worlds. There are lessons learned from both genres, and I think the crossover allows for me to grow as a contributing artist towards each respective artistic world.

What did you take away from your Carousel experience that will enable you to hit the ground running on your next Broadway project?

Carousel was the perfect basis to learn how a Broadway show is built. I was able to absorb so much, especially from working on a classic golden-age musical.

Peck reinvented Carousel's choreography for its Broadway revival. Photo by Julieta Cervantes, Courtesy DKC/O&M

For example, how to work with creative collaborators, what sort of endurance is required for the rehearsal/tech/preview periods, the prioritization of storytelling within the theatrical experience, the importance of being a constructive/encouraging/supportive company leader, how to fix or improve a dance number by reading the audience's reactions, how Schmackary's cookies fuel the entire Broadway community. I could go on for quite a while about the lessons I've learned.

The Conversation
Career Advice
Wayne McGregor. Photo by Johan Persson, Courtesy ROH

It's no surprise that dancers make some of the best TED Talk presenters. Not only are they great performers, but they've got unique knowledge to share. And they can dance!

If you're in need of a midweek boost, look no further than these eight presentations from some incredibly inspiring dance artists.

Keep reading... Show less
Including this extraordinary Travis Wall number for "So You Think You Can Dance" (Adam Rose/FOX)

The Primetime Emmy Award nominations are out! Congrats to the seven choreographers who earned nods for their exceptional TV work this year. Notably, that work was made for just two shows, "So You Think You Can Dance" and "World of Dance."

And there was a particularly remarkable snub: While the dance-filled hit "Fosse/Verdon" earned 17 nominations across many of the major categories, Andy Blankenbuehler's fabulous Fosse remixes weren't recognized in the Outstanding Choreography field.

Here are all the dance routines up for Emmys:

Keep reading... Show less
Rant & Rave

abezikus/Getty Images

"Dancers can do everything these days," I announced to whoever was in earshot at the Jacob's Pillow Archives during a recent summer. I had just been dazzled by footage of a ballet dancer performing hip hop, remarkably well. But my very next thought was, What if that isn't always a good thing? What if what one can't do is the very thing that lends character?

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Ritzel

Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.

At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.

Keep reading... Show less


Get Dance Magazine in your inbox