Ballet 422

A very intimate look at the process of creating a ballet. "Delightful." - Variety

“In Ballet 422, director Jody Lee Lipes chronicles New York City Ballet soloist and choreographer Justin Peck’s attempt to architect the company’s 422nd production. Ballet 422 lacks the traditional hallmarks of most standard documentary films, feeling less like a documentary and more like a stream-of-consciousness depiction of what it’s like to create something as monumentally complex as a ballet from scratch. Peck’s piece, titled Paz De La Jolla, groups a trio of principals with a handful of backup dancers and is set to Sinfonietta La Jolla by Czech composer Bohuslav Martin┼».

“Peck is juggling torches, bowling pins and chainsaws as he oversees and advises on every element of the production from the actual dancing to costuming. Forget the physical challenges of arranging stage movements and instructing each dancer on how to perfect their form; balancing the dizzying array of managerial duties Peck takes on is enough of a feat. Ballet 422 doesn’t go out of its way to make a big fuss about the difficulty of spinning an original ballet out of thin air, but only because it doesn’t have to. The challenge speaks for itself. As months turn into weeks and weeks to days, pressure continuously mounts without requiring Lipes to draw attention to how much rests on Peck’s wary shoulders.

“The film’s true purpose is in its quiet articulations of the creative process. Lipes doesn’t have any interest in pursuing a grand finale in which the human form glides through the air. He’s too focused on the elbow grease that goes into organizing the cascade of pirouettes, sautés and revoltades. There’s a purity in Lipes’ endgame that makes Ballet 422 into a bravura effort in its own right; if you’re not taken in by its showcase of athletic grace, then you will at least be awed by the then-25 Peck’s accomplishments. This is a film of taciturn loveliness.” - Andy Crump, Paste

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