Sufjan Stevens is already an icon among indie rock fans. Justin Peck of the New York City Ballet (NYCB) has had a meteoric rise from dancer into one of the world's most sought-after choreographers. They've already done several collaborations together — and they're hoping for another hit with their newest partnership, The Decalogue.
A piece for solo piano and ten dancers, The Decalogue will be premiered on May 12 with additional performances through May 20. It's part of a program of four works that, aside from Stevens' new score, otherwise leans heavily on Baroque music by Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Biber and Geminiani. The Decalogue's premiere is part of the company's Here/Now Festival, which runs through May 21.
"I do some of my best work to his music. I just find it very inspiring on a personal level," Peck, who has also collaborated with other musicians like Dan Deacon and Bryce Dessner, told Vanity Fair in 2016. By contrast, as Stevens told the New York Times in 2014, it took the musician a while to fall in love with ballet:
"Ballet seemed so anachronistic, so formal and classical and archaic and irrelevant to pop culture, the world of YouTube and reality television. I didn't understand it. But when Justin invited me to do the Rabbit ballet, he persuaded me to have an education and kind of curated my experience ... There is no pandering, there is nothing coy about it — it is so distilled and perfect, immaculate. That's what convinced me that ballet was important. It is all about absence of self — there is no ego in it, even though there is extreme self-consciousness. Ballet is like proof of the existence of God, whereas my art is proof of the existence of me. It made me understand how selfish and boring it can be to make art that is all about yourself."