Either choreographer Benjamin Millepied was ready to move on or he got an offer he couldn't refuse. Millepied, the former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and founder of the one-year-old LA Dance Project, was introduced today as the new director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet, starting in September 2014. Millepied caused a sensation in the LA arts community when he moved here with his future wife, actress Natalie Portman, after retiring from the New York ballet in 2011.
In interviews at the time, Millepied was often quoted expressing his sense of liberation in leaving the New York dance scene and talking about the possibilities of creative freedom in Los Angeles. LA Dance Project, a small and experimental company, and primarily funded by local dance philanthropist Glorya Kaufman, had it's premiere September 22, 2012 at the Disney Hall. Created as an art collective, Millepied's plan for LA Dance Project was to collaborate with artists in multiple mediums and perform not only in traditional venues, but also in alternatives spaces, such as museums.
LA Dance Project has a guaranteed budget for the next three years, the New York Times says, and Millepied is expected to continue to run it until he moves to Paris. Today's news was broken by the New York Times, which also carries an interview with the choreographer.
Photo of Millepied dancing at MOCA in 2012 by Iris Schneider