Murder Ballades

Choreographer: Justin Peck

Justin Peck’s Murder Ballades was commissioned and premiered by L.A. Dance Project in 2013. Set against a vivid backdrop by contemporary artist Sterling Ruby, the exuberant work for six dancers unfolds to Bryce Dessner’s “Murder Ballades” (recorded for L.A. Dance Project by the American chamber music ensemble Eighth Blackbird). Inspired by American folk songs of the 1930s and ‘40s, specifically murder ballades, Dessner synthesized melodies and concepts from these ballades into a classically-based chamber piece with complex rhythms and a strong pulse. Though the ballet contains no explicit narrative, Peck drew upon the lyrics of the original folk songs during his creative process, the dark hints of which can be gleaned from the choreography—particularly in the piece’s two duets. Athletic, playful, and slightly sinister, Murder Ballades is at once a celebration of life and a cautionary tale told through Peck’s buoyant choreography.

September 17, 2013 at Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France.

Lighting Design
Brandon Stirling Baker

Visual Installation
Sterling Ruby

Costume Design
Justin Peck

Bryce Dessner, By arrangement with Chester Music Limited Recorded by eighth blackbird

20 minutes

Murder Ballades