Photograph by Paul Kolnik

Last night, during New York City Ballet’s annual summer residency at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, we enjoyed a quite wonderful program of five ballets including Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit. We first saw Year of the Rabbit when it premiered at Lincoln Center last fall and I must say I loved it even more the second time around and even more on that hallowed, outdoor stage. After all, SPAC was built in 1964 expressly for the New York City Ballet and The Philadelphia Orchestra, with tremendous input from George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein regarding the physical space and overall vision for the venue. Year of the Rabbit is no doubt a major work. It is complex, youthful, joyful and completely refreshing. And the music, arranged for string orchestra from Sufjan Stevens’ electronica album Enjoy Your Rabbit, is rather fantastic too. An immensely talented choreographer, Justin Peck is definitely one to watch.