In 2013, dancer Justin Peck was granted the opportunity of a lifetime. At the time, 25 year-old Peck was an up-and-coming choreographer noticed by the New York City Ballet. He was given the option to choreograph a new ballet from start to finish. Paz de La Jolla was to be the 422nd new ballet from the New York City Ballet. With a fantastic costume shop at his disposal, amazing orchestral support and a camera crew, Peck creates a beautiful ballet and the viewer gets to see the creation from initial dance steps to opening night. Director Jody Lee Lipes captures the creation of this ballet from start to finish in Ballet 422.
The documentary has no verbal exposition and the majority of the subject is captured with visuals set to music. The discussions we do get are not directed at the camera and leave the viewer feeling like they are a silent observer in the practice space or the costume shop. Ballet 422 does a great job of including all aspects of the performance. While a majority is spent looking at the dancers and their steps, the stitchers in the costume shop, lighting designers and the orchestra all get their turn to have a moment in the spotlight. Ballet 422 is careful to show that the creation of a ballet is not just a one man thing.
The credits are fascinating to watch, as so much of it is thank yous to the people who supported the performance. Just like a program at a ballet, the thank you’s go on for a long time.
Ballet 422 is directed by Jody Lee Lipes and produced by Ellen Bar and Anna Rose Holmer. Cinematography is done by Jody Lee Lipes and Nick Bengten.
Ballet 422 is in select theater February 13, 2015.