This story originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Pointe.
It's been five years since a female choreographer premiered a work at New York City Ballet. Fortunately the 2016 fall gala on September 20 presents a more gender-diverse choreographic lineup, including company principal Lauren Lovette and independent choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. The gala program includes premieres by two other NYCB dancers: resident choreographer Justin Peck and corps member Peter Walker, who creates his first ballet for the company.
"Choreographing on your peers provides a great level of familiarity and trust. It can be weird to instruct your friends, but I have so much respect for my colleagues. I try to instill that in the studio," says Lovette, who has never choreographed on a professional company. She has participated in NYCB's New York Choreographic Institute, and took opportunities to create as a School of American Ballet student.
Ochoa adds another premiere to her prolific resumé. She gained acclaim with the Scottish Ballet's commission of A Streetcar Named Desire in 2012, and recently created work for Daniil Simkin's INTENSIO project.
Including Lovette and Walker on NYCB's list of homegrown choreographic talent (along with Peck and corps member Troy Schumacher) helps confirm the company's commitment to cultivating from within and providing opportunities to its dancers.