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Justin Peck Directed and Choreographed 10 Short Films for This Year's Top Movie Stars

Julia Roberts in "The Commuter," choreographed and directed by Justin Peck. Screenshot via The New York Times.

We already knew that Justin Peck is a crossover superstar. His accolades from this past year alone include a Tony Award for best choreography for Carousel, a performance on The Tonight Show with The National, and plans to choreograph Steven Spielberg's upcoming West Side Story remake. Today, he proves himself all over again with a series of short films for The New York Times Magazine titled "Let's Dance," featuring some of 2018's most lauded movie stars. You can see these videos here, including an augmented-reality experience available to those with newer iPhones or iPads.


Part of The New York Times Magazines' Great Performers Series, Peck directed and choreographed these films with the help of two frequent collaborates: filmmaker Ezra Hurwitz and composer Caroline Shaw. Each roughly a minute long, the films star Julia Roberts, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Glenn Close, Regina Hall, Yoo Ah-In, Ethan Hawke, Elsie Fisher, Yalitza Aparicio, Emma Stone, Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz breaking into dance in the midst of quotidian scenarios (riding the subway, waking up, mopping the floor). "For the series, I set out to explore movement within the mundane," wrote Peck on Instagram. "Gestures drawn from the everyday. Ordinary acts that bubble up into fleeting moments of extraordinary grace, beauty, energy, dance."

Even with these simplified steps, it's easy to see Peck's signature pairing of natural fluidity with rhythmic intricacy. Many of the films' concepts, like Julia Robert's top-hatted soft-shoe routine, Elsie Fisher's youthful take on Singing in the Rain and Glenn Close's mop dance allude to Old Hollywood, when dance and film walked hand in hand. We've always appreciated Peck's ability to bring dance to broader audiences, particularly online, and this is no exception; we can't wait to see what will come next.

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