From the Choreographer —
It is a great privilege for me to come to Queensland Ballet to stage my Peter Pan. Li Cunxin was the lead dancer in my very first choreographic work as a professional choreographer when I made Skeleton Clock for Houston Ballet in 1990. At 20 years old, I was just a kid and while it was a tremendous opportunity, it was a somewhat terrifying prospect. Everyone was older than me and it was my first year as a professional dancer as well. Li was such a leader in the company and someone I respected and admired greatly. He and his wife Mary McKendry, also a Principal in the company at the time, were so incredibly supportive and protective of me. They had more confidence in me than I had in myself. To be invited 25 years later to work with Li and Queensland Ballet is a great feeling of coming full-circle.
I made Peter Pan when I was 32 and still basically just a kid. I was only beginning to navigate the decision of whether or not to grow up. Peter Pan was a very good fit for me as my first full-length ballet because in many ways, I lived my life like Peter Pan. The ways in which I saw my peers shed their connection with limitless possibility in favor of a series of predictable milestones was weird to me. I have never had the draw to give up my life of adventure. As we grow, we take on more and more responsibility and things like the gift of parenthood require us to plant our feet more firmly on the ground. But I suspect that somewhere inside of each of us, there is a part that longs to fly. Peter Pan is a great reminder of the magic that we will always possess.
I am happy to say that now that I am 45 I still haven’t decided when I am going to grow up. It’s a great thing to be an artist and to get to create new worlds. If you’re a responsible adult, I hope that this production lets you escape into a world that you once knew. If you’re a kid, just keep on doing what you’re doing.