Play it cool

For years, West Side Story was inextricably linked to Jerome Robbins’ choreography.

Dance Gazette | Big Picture | Issue 3 - Feb 2022

For years, West Side Story was inextricably linked to Jerome Robbins’ choreography. On both stage and screen, the iconic finger clicks, bent knees and flaring skirts created an unmistakable movement language of simmering violence and romantic frustration.

Recent stage productions have allowed new choreographers to tackle this juicy material – including Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker on Broadway and Aletta Collins in Manchester. For Steven Spielberg’s new film, it’s Justin Peck, who as resident choreographer at New York City Ballet has danced in many Robbins’ ballets. ‘I’m standing on the shoulders of giants by taking this on,’ he acknowledges.

His grandfather and father watched the original stage production of West Side Story together, and when years later the young Peck saw the film in San Diego, it hit him, he said ‘like a gut-punch.’ Creating dance for Spielberg’s film he could draw on a cast that included not only Rita Moreno – who played Anita in the original film – but a new generation of vivid dancers. This time, Anita is Broadway star Ariana DeBose, who in 2020 told Dance Gazette about her approach to creating a character. ‘It all starts with movement,’ she said, ‘point blank, end of story. Because body language is everything.’


West Side Story trailer



REST OF Issue 3 - Feb 2022


Leading the way

Carlos Acosta’s life would have been very different without ballet. He is committed to sharing the artform – as artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet and through a new partnership with the RAD.


New reality

Demands on dance companies are changing rapidly, and they require new kinds of leaders. Three new directors tell Deirdre Kelly about making a difference.


Luke Rittner: exit interview

Dance Gazette invites RAD National Directors to put questions to Luke Rittner as he prepares to stand down as Chief Executive.


Say it with silence

A colourful new film based on the classic ballet Coppélia puts live action alongside animation. The cast of star dancers had to discover how to communicate on camera.

Playlist post

Alice McArthur

The gold medalist in the RAD’s 2021 Fonteyn International Ballet Competition shares the music that makes her want to dance.


Singing and dancing in the rain

Rain-drenched song and dance is a staple of Indian films. Sally Howard and Geetanjali Krishna chart the past and future of this key Bollywood motif.

Advice Bureau post

Ivan Michael Blackstock

The dance artist and cultural innovator shares advice about recognising that you are enough.

RAD Q&A post

Victoria Treviño

RAD teacher Victoria Treviño has been named one of Mexico’s 100 most creative people. Why is she so passionate about teaching?

Inside RAD post


Tim Arthur is the new Chief Executive of the RAD.

Why Dance Matters post

Libby Clegg

Paralympic champion Libby Clegg on athletics, Dancing on Ice – and why winning can feel worse than losing.


Moving pictures

When dance meets film, magic can happen. Isaac Ouro-Gnao speaks to the makers of three striking new movies: documentary, fashion film and major Hollywood musical.