Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Peck, Fairchild celebrate real-life fairy tale
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In ballet, the pas de deux literally means “step of two,” where a pair of dancers are on stage together performing a rehearsed routine.
In a grande pas de deux there are five parts: the entree, adagio, two variations and the coda, and during this dance, the pair of dancers almost become actors portraying a love story, displaying affectionate thoughts and feelings between romantic partners.
In the case of Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild, it’s not acting. The principal dancers from the New York City Ballet are partners on and off the stage. The couple met years ago while advancing their dancing skills. Peck was 11 and Fairchild was 13. They had crushes on each other and dated off and on. As Peck puts it, “he was always breaking up with me.” But in 2011, their relationship became exclusive and they were engaged in Paris and married in June of 2014.
But shortly after they were married, this couple who would eat, sleep, dance and play together were separated via miles and time zones as Peck took a role in the Susan Stroman musical “Little Dancer” and Fairchild headed to Paris to play Jerry Mulligan in Christopher Wheeldon’s “American in Paris,” which was staged in Paris before coming to Broadway. That’s quite a change if you are used to sharing the same barre with that person on a daily basis.
But through daily communication (face-to-face via FaceTime), the couple’s relationship strengthened and they are reunited once again and are both back performing at the New York City Ballet.
Damian Woetzel, artistic director for the Vail Valley Foundation’s Vail International Dance Festival, brought Peck out to Vail early on and Fairchild followed shortly afterwards. The two have become the darlings of the dance, especially when you know that their glances, actions and feelings toward each other on stage aren’t just a fairy tale.
By Christmas Eve Day 2017, when chairs 7, 10, 11, 14 and 26 still had not yet opened for the season on Vail Mountain, the resort knew something had to be done. Less than two years later Vail Mountain would be completing one of the most ambitious projects in the resort’s history.