In a Preview of Justin Peck’s Heatscape, Miami City Ballet Takes to the Streets

It was while exploring Miami’s vibrant Wynwood Walls that choreographer Justin Peck found inspiration for his new piece, Heatscape, which premieres at Miami City Ballet in March. Judging from this preview, you couldn’t call it a fever dream—the movements are too precise, the music too jaunty—but the colors whir all the same, mirroring the murals by Shepard Fairey and others that first caught Peck’s eye. “He works with these mandala images that start from the center and build outward,” Peck says, “and that way of working interests me choreographically.”

That murals signify community-mindedness was not lost on Peck, who seeks to break down walls when it comes to ballet’s reputation as elitist and inaccessible. Fittingly, dancers wear bright basics (their own) and take synchronized leaps in an elevated echo of Gap’s West Side Story ads from 2000. Codirector Ezra Hurwitz says they drew quite a crowd while filming, which might have bolstered the performers as much as the art. “In post-production, we had to color-correct every image, because the dancers would be purple from the light cast off the walls,” Hurwitz says. “Everything affects everything.”Read More