Already an esteemed corps dancer at New York City Ballet, Justin Peck dramatically expanded his artistic horizons after choreographing 2012’s “Year of the Rabbit,” which debuted to raves. Ballet 422, a free-floating documentary profile that throws you directly into the action with little context, charts Peck’s intense work on his follow-up piece, “Paz de la Jolla.” He hones small movements, refines them, demonstrates them to his cast. This isn’t a place for ego; Black Swan fans will leave disappointed.
Director Jody Lee Lipes is better known as a cinematographer, having lent moody atmosphere to movies like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Lena Dunham’s debut, Tiny Furniture. His style is an intriguing match with dance, running counter to Peck’s rigor via a soft-focus abstraction that makes artful use of reflections. Ballet 422 bears little resemblance to Frederick Wiseman’s vérité triumph La Danse; indeed, it may be a little shapeless for anyone hoping to see the final product or grab some air in this hermetically sealed universe.
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