Benjamin Millepied

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Benjamin Millepied
Born (1977-06-10) June 10, 1977 (age 37)
Bordeaux, France
Occupation Choreographer, ballet dancer
Years active 2001–present
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Spouse(s) Natalie Portman (m. 2012)
Children 1
Current group Paris Opera Ballet, L.A. Dance Project
Former groups New York City Ballet
Website
benjaminmillepied.com

Benjamin Millepied (pronounced the French way: it is "MEEL-pee-yay") (born June 10, 1977)[1] is a French dancer and choreographer, perhaps most widely known for his work in the movie Black Swan in which he starred and choreographed. Millepied will be the new Director of Dance at the Paris Opera Ballet, starting October 15 2014.[2]

Early life[edit]

Millepied was born in Bordeaux, France, and raised in Dakar, Senegal.[3] He is the youngest of three sons.[4] His ballet training started at the age of eight with his mother, Catherine Flori, a former ballet dancer. His father is Denys Millepied.[5][6] Between the ages of 13 and 16 he studied with Michel Rahn at the Conservatoire National in Lyon, France. In January 2014, it was revealed that Benjamin was in the process of converting to Judaism inspired by his wife, actress Natalie Portman.[7]

Career[edit]

In the summer of 1992 Millepied attended classes at the School of American Ballet (SAB) and returned to study full-time in 1993, with a scholarship from the French Ministry (Bourse Lavoisier or Lavoisier Scholarship). Early in his career Millepied was mentored by choreographer Jerome Robbins, who took an interest in him.[8] At SAB's 1994 Spring Workshop he originated a principal role in Jerome Robbins' premiere of 2 and 3 Part Inventions and also received the Prix de Lausanne. Millepied joined New York City Ballet's corps de ballet in 1995, was promoted to soloist in 1998[3] and became principal dancer in 2002.[9] On 26 October 2011, it was announced that Millepied would retire from New York City's Ballet.[10][11]

Millepied is also a choreographer, creating dances for City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the School of American Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera Ballet, Ballet de Genève, American Ballet Theatre, and his own company, Danses Concertantes.[12][13][13][14] From 2006 to 2007, he was choreographer-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.

Millepied has commissioned and collaborated with contemporary composers including David Lang, Nico Muhly, Thierry Escaich, Daniel Ott, and Philip Glass.[14][15] The Jerome Robbins Trust and Foundation has underwritten Millepied’s work and donors include philanthropists Anne Bass and Arlene Cooper.[16]

In 2001, Millepied's dancing was motion captured for the animated children's film Barbie in the Nutcracker, along with other New York City Ballet dancers. His dancing was again captured for the 2003 Barbie film Barbie of Swan Lake. In 2009 he served as choreographer for Black Swan, a psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky which stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as ballet dancers in New York City.[17] In 2010, he was the leading man in a short film co-directed by Asa Mader and starring Léa Seydoux, called Time Doesn’t Stand Still.[16]

In 2012, Millepied founded The Amoveo Company, a multimedia production company and art collective. He has directed a number of short films in collaboration with various artists, including Mark Bradford, Philip Glass, IO Echo, Zeds Dead, and Lil Buck. In August 2013, Millepied directed a short film based on his choreography "Reflections" for Van Cleef and Arpels.

In 2014, Millepied became the Artistic Advisor of the new Dance Academy at the Colburn School in Downtown Los Angeles, joining fellow former-principal dancers with the New York City Ballet, Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette. [18]

L.A. Dance Project[edit]

In 2011, L.A. Dance Project, founded and directed by Millepied, was launched with a commission, expected to last two years, from Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Los Angeles Music Center. The company’s operating budget is about $1 million a year.[19] Millepied partnered with composer Nico Muhly, producer Charles Fabius, composer Nicholas Britell, and Matthieu Humery to found the company.[20] In 2012, L.A. Dance Project established a full-time residence at Los Angeles Theatre Center[21] with the objective of presenting new works throughout the city. L.A. Dance Project’s inaugural performance, commissioned by The Music Center was held at Walt Disney Concert Hall on September 22, 2012.

Later that year, Millepied and L.A. Dance Project dancer Amanda Wells performed a 30-minute duet entitled "Framework" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The dance collective’s first program featured a Millepied premiere, Moving Parts, with a score by Muhly and visual design by painter Christopher Wool. The program also includes a revival of Merce Cunningham’s 1964 Winterbranch, a movement exploration of falling bodies set to a mostly two-note score by La Monte Young, and William Forsythe’s Quintett, a 1993 study in loss and hope to avant-garde composer Gavin Bryar’s composition Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.[20] Millepied's collaborators include Rodarte, Barbara Kruger, and Alex Israel, a contemporary California painter and video artist.[19]

The premiere of "Reflections" by Millepied took place at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on April 23, 2013. In 2013, L.A. Dance Project continued to tour at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, Istanbul, Spoleto Festival in Italy, Edinburgh International Festival, La Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France and Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. In September 2013, at Maison de la Danse in Lyon, the company premiered two new pieces. The first premiere was Murder Ballads, choreographed by Justin Peck with music by Bryce Dessner. Next on the program was the premiere of Morgan's Last Chug choreographed and with light and sound design by Emanuel Gat.

In January 2014, L.A. Dance Project announced that its new home venue will be the Theatre at Ace Hotel.[22]

Paris Opera Ballet[edit]

In January 2013, it was announced that Millepied will be the new Director of Dance at the Paris Opera Ballet. His new position will begin in September 2014.[23]

Recognition[edit]

In 2010, he was made Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Millepied met actress Natalie Portman on the set of Black Swan in early 2009[25] and reportedly left his live-in girlfriend at the time, American Ballet Theatre dancer, now principal dancer, Isabella Boylston to pursue a relationship with the actress.[26] Portman gave birth to their child, a son named Aleph Portman-Millepied in June 2011, and they were married August 2012.[27][28]

Choreography[edit]

Year Title Venue Notes
2001 Passages Conservatoire National
2002 Clapping Music Conservatoire National Music by Steve Reich
2002 Triple Duet Sadler's Wells Theatre Music by J. S. Bach
2003 Double Aria Bay Street Theater
2004 On The Other Side Sadler's Wells Theatre
2005 24 Variations of a Theme By Paganini School of American Ballet
2005 Circular Motion Florence Gould Hall
2006 Closer Joyce Theater Music and live accompaniment by Philip Glass
2006 Amoveo Paris Opera Ballet Set designs by Paul Cox, costumes by Marc Jacobs
2009 Everything Doesn't Happen At Once Avery Fisher Hall Music by David Lang
2009 Quasi Una Fantasia New York City Ballet
2009 Sarabande New York City Ballet
2010 Plainspoken New York City Ballet Music by David Lang
2010 Why am I not where you are Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Music by Thierry Escaich, scenery by Santiago Calatrava
2010 One Thing Leads to Another Het National Ballet Music by Nico Muhly, costumes by Rodarte
2011 Troika American Ballet Theatre
2011 The Bartered Bride Metropolitan Opera
2012 Khovanshchina Metropolitan Opera

Originated roles[edit]

Year Title Choreographer Notes
1997 Slavonic Dances Christopher Wheeldon Part of the Diamond Project
1997 Brandenburg Jerome Robbins
1997 La Stravaganza Angelin Preljocaj
1998 Les Noces Jerome Robbins
1998 Concerti Armonici Peter Martins
1999 Swan Lake Peter Martins
2000 Prism Helgi Tómasson Part of the Diamond Project
2002 If By Chance Melissa Barak Part of the Diamond Project
2002 Twilight Courante Stephen Baynes Part of the Diamond Project
2002 Hallelujah Junction Peter Martins Part of the Diamond Project
2003 Guide to Strange Places Peter Martins
2004 Circle of Fifths Christopher d'Amboise
2004 Musagète Boris Eifman
2004 Octet Peter Martins

Featured roles[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2001 Barbie in the Nutcracker New York City Ballet Dancer
2003 Barbie of Swan Lake New York City Ballet Dancer
2010 Black Swan David Moreau/The Prince
2011 Time Doesn't Stand Still[citation needed] Lui Short film
2012 Aria[citation needed] Director Short
2012 Bacchanale[citation needed] Director Short
2012 IO Echo: Eye Father[citation needed] Director Music video
2012 IO Echo: Stalemate[citation needed] Direrector Music video
2012 Naran Ja[citation needed] Creative Director Short
2012 Medusa[citation needed] Director Short
2012 Framework[citation needed] Choreographer & Dancer Short
2013 Zeds Dead: Demons[citation needed] Director Music video
2013 Reflections[citation needed] Director Short
2014 Forest Swords: The Weight Of Gold[29] Director Music video

See also[edit]

Reviews[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (French) Vernay, Marie-Christine (27 October 2009). "Les mille et une vies de Benjamin Millepied (The Many Lives of Benjamin Millepied)". Libération (in French).  (English translation via Google)
  2. ^ "BENJAMIN MILLEPIED : NEW DIRECTOR OF DANSE". 
  3. ^ a b "NYCB biography for Benjamin Millepied". New York City Ballet. Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "BENJAMIN MILLEPIED: LORD OF THE DANCE". Details. June 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  5. ^ BENJAMIN MILLEPIED - Biography
  6. ^ Sudouest.fr
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Milzoff, Rebecca (10 May 2009). "Regarding Benjamin Millepied". New York Magazine. 
  9. ^ NY Times, 6 Juneth, 2002
  10. ^ "Benjamin Millepied, 'Black Swan' choreographer, leaving City Ballet". LA Times Blogs. 26 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Millepied Retires From City Ballet". New York Times. 26 October 2011.
  12. ^ Herschthal, Eric (30 September 2009). "Everything Is Happening for Millepied". The New York Observer. 
  13. ^ a b Jowitt, Deborah (12 December 2008). "Benjamin Millepied Takes A Very Big Leap Forward". Village Voice. 
  14. ^ a b "Official Website Biography". Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Milzoff, Rebecca (24 August 2007). "The Young and the Tireless". New York Magazine. 
  16. ^ a b Joshua David Stein (February 2, 2011), Benjamin Millepied Leaps Into the Spotlight New York Times.
  17. ^ Kourlas, Gia (December 2009). "On The Rise: Benjamin Millepied and Cory Stearns bring passion and intensity to New York's legendary ballet houses". Variety. Archived from the original on 2010-01-06. 
  18. ^ LA Times, February 21, 2014
  19. ^ a b Brooks Barnes (October 18, 2012), Giant Steps for Dance in Los Angeles New York Times.
  20. ^ a b Laura Bleiberg (July 5, 2012), Benjamin Millepied and Music Center announce L.A. Dance Project Los Angeles Times.
  21. ^ David Ng (July 5, 2012), Benjamin Millepied finds home for L.A. Dance Project in downtown Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ Mike Boehm (January 14, 2014), Millepied's L.A. Dance Project finds home: 1927 downtown theater Los Angeles Times.
  23. ^ Sulcas, Roslyn (24 January 2013). "Paris Opera Ballet Picks Outsider for New Director". New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  24. ^ Remler, AC (August 24, 2012). "Choreographer Benjamin Millepied to Work with the Industry's Yuval Sharon". KCET. 
  25. ^ Julie Jordan (27 December 2010). "Natalie Portman Is Engaged and Pregnant!". People. 
  26. ^ "Millepied Leaves Ballerina Isabella Boylston for Natalie Portman". OK! magazine. December 28, 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-01-05. 
  27. ^ "Confirmed! Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied Married" Us Magazine. 28 February 2012.
  28. ^ "Jeweler Dishes on Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied’s ‘Wedding Rings’". People. 28 February 2012.
  29. ^ http://www.nowness.com/day/2014/2/20/3688/forest-swords-the-weight-of-gold

External links[edit]