You can find Tiler Peck just about anywhere these days—onstage at New York City Ballet, in commercials, on "The Ellen Degeneres Show." And let's not forget starring in 2014's Little Dancer, a musical that followed the creation of Edgar Degas' famous sculpture, "Little Dancer Aged 14." Peck played Marie van Goethem, the young Paris Opéra Ballet School student who modeled for Degas. Now, she's reprising the role—er, her likeness is—for a good cause. Visual artist Elliott Arkin has created a series of limited edition sculptures of Peck as the Little Dancer. Proceeds will go to Dance Against Cancer, the annual benefit concert for the American Cancer Society produced by NYCB principal Daniel Ulbricht and Manhattan Youth Ballet programming director Erin Fogarty (both of whom lost a parent to the disease). Peck will also be part of the event's star-studded cast; all of the dancers donate their time, and most perform in memory of a loved one.
A few months ago, Peck underwent a full body scan in the famous Degas pose, which Arkin then turned into a prototype. The resin-cast, hand-painted sculpture will be unveiled at this year's DAC performance on May 7; only 100 of the 12-inch statuettes—numbered and signed by both artists—will be available, although two-foot bronze versions can be special ordered. "Tiler Peck as the Little Dancer" is the first in a series of works Arkin will create for DAC that place today's ballet stars in legendary works of art. (It'll be exciting to see which dancer and work of art he'll recreate next!)
Ulbricht and Fogarty unroll a banner of courage at the 2016 Dance Against Cancer. Photo by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy DAC.
The sculpture isn't the only new development at this year's event. Dance Against Cancer, which has raised $1.1 million for the American Cancer Society since its inception in 2010, has grown so successful that Ulbricht and Fogarty have secured both a host (MTV's "Catfish" star Nev Schulman) and a larger venue: Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. The lineup includes two commissioned world premieres and dancers from NYCB, American Ballet Theatre, BalletX, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Noche Flamenco, Jacob Jonas The Company, tap sensation Ayodele Casel, ballroom dancers Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina, and more. For tickets and more information on how to donate to the American Cancer Society, click here.