Sufjan Stevens really likes composing with big themes in mind—there were the “states” albums Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State and Illinois; there was that intense and rather diverse series of Christmas albums. And for his upcoming ballet, Year of the Rabbit, which premieres at Lincoln Center on October 5, he extends his explorations of the Chinese zodiac.
The new ballet is one of several iterations of the Chinese zodiac theme for Stevens, beginning with his 2001 album, Enjoy Your Rabbit, which became arrangements for Run Rabbit Run, a recreation of album by Brooklyn’s Osso, in 2009. For Year of the Rabbit, Stevens and choreographer Justin Peck have expanded their 2010 work for the New York Choreographic Institute, Tales of A Chinese Zodiac, into a full ballet featuring orchestral arrangements recreated from Run Rabbit Run.
In the promotional clip for the ballet below, dancers Janie Taylor and Craig Hill dance upon the sand to a familiar Sufjan track, “Palm Sunday Tornado Hits Crystal Lake.” The video will be screened tonight (and was last night) as part of a special Q&A with Stevens and Justin Peck at the Guggenheim Museum as part of their lauded “Works and Process” series. You’ll be able to watch that conversation on the Guggenheim website, if you’re interested in learning more. Watch below.