Peak Performances Tops The New York Times’ Dance Top-10 List

Alastair Macaulay picks Peak Performances dance productions as numbers 1 and 4 on list of favorites

Photo: Nikolay Krusser

Dancers James Muller and Elly Bround perform in Richard Alston’s “Unfinished Business.”

Two dance productions from Montclair State University’s Peak Performances series made The New York Times’ list of Top 10 new dance works for 2013 – with one named the best of the year.

Alastair Macaulay, The Times’ chief dance critic, included Unfinished Business and glacier as No. 1 and No. 4 respectively on his annual best performances list.

“When seen at Peak Performances at Montclair State University in New Jersey last December, this struck me as the greatest dance duet created this century by anyone except Merce Cunningham,” Macaulay writes in The Times of Richard Alston’s Unfinished Business in naming it the top dance performance of the year – a first for the University.

“To have Richard Alston’s Unfinished Business picked as the absolute number one dance work of the year and for that dance work to contain the best dance duet of the century is heart stopping,” says Executive Director for Arts and Cultural Programming Jedediah Wheeler.

Macaulay also chose the Peak Performances-commissioned, world-premiere performance of Liz Gerring’s glacier as No. 4 on his list in the article, “Duets, Trilogies and Revisiting Motown.”

“Peak Performances has a history of bringing world class artists to our campus,” says Wheeler. “To read that Alastair Macaulay was inspired by two of those artists in one season is humbling.”

Considering all the other major dances were presented at high-profile venues, Wheeler is delighted that the Peak Performances productions topping the list were presented at Montclair State’s Alexander Kasser Theater.

Peak Performances commissioned Gerring to create glacier at Montclair State and while Alston is a veteran choreographer, Wheeler notes that Gerring is a relative newcomer.

“Giving an artist an opportunity to create work is a gamble. But to have an artist hit her personal best while leaping forward with new ideas is breathtaking in and unto itself,” says Wheeler. “It speaks well for the research atmosphere the University provides. The performing arts are a risky business in general, but who knew that Gerring’s work would be Number 4?”

Since its inception in 2005, Peak Performances has brought a wide range of internationally acclaimed artists and productions to the Alexander Kasser Theater. With an emphasis on inter-disciplinary work, Peak Performances has presented more than 50 world and American premieres by international and American artists.

For information about Peak Performances and its upcoming productions, visit peakperfs.org.