It was the Shepard Fairey murals at Wynwood Walls that first caught Justin Peck's eye. The choreographer went to Wynood Walls looking for inspiration, and he certainly found it. Fairey's murals feature prominently in Peck's latest piece, Heatscape, which will premiere at the Miami City Ballet in March.
"[Fairey] works with these mandala images that start from the center and build outward," Peck told Vogue, "and that way of working interests me choreographically."
Peck's choreography is focused on "community-mindedness"; he is constantly searching for ways to dismantle the perception that ballet is elite and inaccessible. And certainly that's reflected in the preview of Heatscape. MCB company members wear street clothes as they dance around Wynwood Walls' familiar imagery. The walls themselves seem almost animated by the company's precise dance moves.
Heatscape's codirector, Ezra Hurwitz, said that they drew a large crowd during the filming and that dancers and the audience fed off each other's energy. "In postproduction, we had to color-correct every image because the dancers would be purple from the light cast off the walls," Hurwitz said. "Everything affects everything."
Peck has already generated quite a bit of, well, heat for the upcoming performance. In January, his piece was chosen for inclusion in the Guggenheim Museum's prestigious Works and Process series.
Heatscape will premiere in West Palm Beach March 27 as part of MCB's Points of Departure. The performance will run at the Adrienne Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) April 10 through 12. Tickets start at $25. For more information, visit miamicityballet.org.