In 2018 San Francisco Ballet premiered a ballet set to sections of M83’s critically acclaimed double album, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming. Beginning Friday at 3 p.m., the production will be streamed for seven days on the company’s Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as IGTV and its website.
The ballet was choreographed by Tony Award winner Justin Peck of the New York City Ballet. Within SF Ballet, it’s called the “sneaker ballet” because the choreographer is performed in sneakers, while the costumers are designed by streetwear. The New York Times included the production in its list of Best Dance of 2018.
Peck production takes on a life-cycle journey of dream states. Using some of the songs from the 2011 album, Peck tells stories of “how we dream as children, how we dream as young, coming-of-age adults, and how we dream as fully matured adults.” In this ballet, geometric shapes materialize from movement that seems random at first. And when the dancers get where they’re going, they don’t stay long—patterns shift and disappear.
“Sneakers create a different posture and approach to dance,” Peck has said of the production. “It’s a different type of platform for dancers to express themselves. They relax a little bit, and the foundation is less precarious than the ballet shoe and the pointe shoe, so I think it allows them to take greater risks.” Some of the movement is influenced by the dancing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
For dancer, Gabriela Gonzalez, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” marked a debut with the SF Ballet.
“I love that piece, it’s just joy,” she said. “The music; it’s so energetic, it moves you very deep inside. Representing that through movement, at times felt like an explosion. And in the calm parts, with soft music, to me was even spiritual. … My pas de deux [a duet dance] was the high energy one: “New Map.” It was a bit challenging at first, ’cause I’m pretty long, and the movements in “New Map” are very big and very fast, so it’s not my natural easy movement.”
“Justin [Peck] mentioned that one of the past times he was in San Francisco choreographing … he would walk the streets and listen to [M83’s] album, which I also love. He does such a good job to explain music through movement.
Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is M83’s highest charting album, and was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album Grammy in 2013.
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