Turn It Out with Tiler Peck & Friends

Reviewer’s Rating

Turn It Out with Tiler Peck & Friends is an exquisitely curated evening of collaborative dance. There are four works, each with their own unique style: Thousandth Orange, Swift Arrow, Time Spell, and The Barre Project. While different in so many ways, all four pieces share a captivating joyfulness – joy for dance, for music, and for the inspiration that comes from surrounding oneself with creative and inspirational friends.

The evening begins with a burst of light, a short ballet choreographed by Tiler Peck entitled Thousandth Orange. Watching this pas de six is like waking up to sunlight, fragrance, fresh fruit on a tree: the stage is busy but composed, like a still life that keeps breaking the bounds of its frame. The concept is simple – even after ‘the thousandth time one paints, or looks at, or eats, an orange… it is just as beautiful as the first time.’ Four musicians perform from the stage and the dancers merge and separate, at times with hints of Balanchine’s Apollo, yet infused with a brighter light.

We are then treated to a pas de deux from Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia, a mesmerising work choreographed by Alonzo King entitled Swift Arrow. Peck’s reputation sets high expectations; and yet nothing can prepare the audience for the experience of watching her dance. With breathtakingly beautiful musicality, every movement is shaped into a living art. Peck and Mejia dance as one, widening and closing the gap between them with absolute precision.

Time Spell is the highlight of the evening, and perhaps should have been placed as the final work of the night to give it the full impact it deserved. This is a work that reveals the visionary power of collaboration, a large cast coming together with their diverse talents. There is tap dancing, live music, song, ballet, hip-hop: it is an electric blend of energy that juxtaposes and connects at the same time. Along a wooden platform, tap shoes and pointe shoes move at speed to achieve a rhythm that seems to defy any expectations the audience might have had about the limits of dance and music.

The performance ends with The Barre Project. Choregraphed by William Forsythe during lockdown via Zoom with Tiler Peck, this ballet is an ode to the places we go to find our centre. In lockdown we needed that stability more than ever, and the routine of barre work seems to offer a symbol of structure and safety. The choreography never lets us settle, however, breaking out from the solidity of the barre with contortions of the repertoire of classical ballet. A simple film of hands finding their place at a ballet barre is projected across the stage and acts as a meditative calm, but then the movement begins again, and it is anything but predictable.

Every component of Tiler Peck’s curation has been selected, crafted, and rehearsed to the highest of standards. The production is a dedication to the joy of dance, resisting limitations and categorisations. Turn It Out with Tiler Peck & Friends brings you right inside this creative team’s passion for dance: I left the theatre wanting nothing more than to dance my way home.