Tiler Peck Improves on Degas

August 17, 2014

Leave it to Susan Stroman to come up with a new idea for a musical. In just this last Broadway season, her Big Fish told whimsical stories, and Bullets Over Broadway made everybody laugh so hard. Now she is working on a musical about Degas’s famous sculpture, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Created in 1881 by the French painter who loved ballet, the bronze sculpture with a real net tutu is an iconic image—yet strange.

When initially exhibited, Little Dancer stirred controversy. One critic called her a “flower of precocious depravity.” Personally, I’ve always found her posture appalling: Her head is sticking out, crunching the back of her neck, and she’s slouching forward in her pelvis. She looks so apathetic that it’s hard to believe that the model, Marie van Goethem, was actually a corps dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet at 14.

Tiler Peck,
the New York City Ballet star who will be playing Marie, was also professional at 14. In fact, she sang and danced in Stroman’s production of The Music Man at 11. So she’s very familiar with the effervescent director/choreographer. Also familiar to Peck is photographer Matthew Karas, longtime cover photographer for Dance Magazine. He shot 50 covers for us between 2007 and 2013, including this gorgeous one of Ms. Peck herself. And he’s the photographer in this promotional video for Little Dancer, below.



In this behind-the-scenes video, you can see what’s going on in the photo shoot that gave the production, coming to the Kennedy Center Oct. 25 to Nov. 30, its promotional image. In Matt’s words, “We were trying to bring The Little Dancer to life.” Well, I would say they did that and more. I think Tiler Peck is a big improvement over Marie van Goethem!


Of course we hope Little Dancer comes to Broadway in the spring. Won’t it be a hoot if Tiler is on Broadway at the same time that her husband, Robert Fairchild, is in An American in Paris? But until that happens, click here for info on the Kennedy Center engagement.

Both photos of Tiler Peck by Matthew Karas.