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A New Stage
One of America’s best-loved ballerinas found a way to get back onstage, and she’s brought three D.C. dancers—Brooklyn Mack and tap-dancing sisters Chloe and Maud Arnold—along for the ride. New York City Ballet star Tiler Peck (also known for teaching barre classes to thousands on Instagram) leveraged her celebrity and launched A New Stage, an hour-long collaborative performance available on Vimeo. Although filmed in Los Angeles and produced with help from DJ tWitch, the show is modeled after the Kennedy Center’s DEMO series, which unites musicians and dance artists from divergent worlds. Peck has performed at several DEMOs, but in making the format her own, in the middle of a pandemic, she’s made collaborative performances feel alive and vital rather than cute and novel. Just like at DEMO, the singers and musicians join dancers onstage. There’s lighthearted banter involved, but the dancing is serious. Broadway and ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon created a new show tune solo for Peck, beautifully crooned by Sierra Boggess. Up next are the the Arnolds’ Syncopated Ladies, a tap ensemble seen in the District each year when the sisters host DC Tap Fest; they perform “Amplified.” Finally, A New Stage includes “Petrushka Reimagined,” choreographer Jennifer Weber’s hip-hop update of the 1911 ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky. “Petruskha Reimagined” finds a ballerina doll torn between two toy suitors—but in the original, one was written as a racist caricature and performed in blackface. Here, two Black dancers, Memphis jookin expert Lil Buck, and Mack, a former standout at The Washington Ballet, try to woo the doll. The trio first performed the piece in 2018 at the Fall for Dance festival; afterward, Mack told Dance Magazine “it was so rewarding to work with [the others]—they’re amazing movers.” Only one of them gets the girl, but thanks to A New Stage, everyone gets to see the dance-off. The performance is available to stream on Vimeo through CLI Studios. $19.99.