You’ve probably heard about the documentary Ballet 422, which is in theaters February 6. The film is directed by Jody Lee Lipes, and chronicles the making of New York City Ballet’s 422nd world premiere: Justin Peck’s Paz de la Jolla.
Peck has been remarkably busy since press for the documentary started picking up steam early last year. He premiered Debonair at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Heatscape at Miami City Ballet and was appointed New York City Ballet’s second ever choreographer in residence—where he has premiered two more ballets this season.
Ballet 422 shows Peck earlier in his career, as he’s still working out the nuances of what goes into making a produciton. Lipes followed Peck from his apartment to the studio; backstage in the costume shop to conversations with lighting designers. “Jody has a quiet voice as a filmmaker,” says Peck. “He was really unobtrusive during the creation of the ballet.” Lipes agrees that his intention in making the film was to hang back and let the action unfold physically. “I was learning about the ballet world, too,” he says.
If you’ve ever been part of a professional production, the film won’t function as a huge revelation. But Lipes does a great job capturing the details of the creative process, and the result is a satisfying peek into the magic of NYCB.