- Category : Dancer
- Type : MS
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Rulership 2
Benjamin Millepied (born June 10, 1977) is a French danseur and choreographer, perhaps most widely known for his work in the movie Black Swan which he starred in and choreographed. Millepied will be the new Director of Dance at the Paris Opera Ballet, starting in September 2014.
Millepied was born in Bordeaux, France and raised in Dakar, Senegal. He is the youngest of three sons. His ballet training started at the age of eight with his mother, Catherine Millepied-Flory, a former ballet dancer. Between the ages of 13 and 16 he studied with Michel Rahn at the Conservatoire National in Lyon, France.
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 famed choreographer Jerome Robbins, who took a strong interest in him. 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 and became principal dancer in 2002. On 26 October 2011, it was announced that Millepied would retire from New York City's Ballet.
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. From 2006 to 2007, he was choreographer-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.
Millepied has commissioned and collaborated with several contemporary composers including David Lang, Nico Muhly, Thierry Escaich and Philip Glass.The Jerome Robbins Trust and Foundation underwrites much of Millepied’s work and his circle of donors include philanthropists Anne Bass and Arlene Cooper.
In 2001, Millepied's dancing was motion captured for the animated children's film Barbie in the Nutcracker, along with several 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. 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.
L.A. Dance Project
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. Millepied partnered with composer Nico Muhly, dancer Dimitri Chamblas, producer Charles Fabius and others to launch the group. In 2012, L.A. Dance Project established a full-time residence at Los Angeles Theatre Center, with the objective of presenting new works throughout the city. It was given the opportunity to perform at Disney Hall — a Music Center venue offered in recent history only to a select few dance companies with international reputations such as Merce Cunningham and Shen Wei Dance Arts. Millepied specifically wanted to perform at Disney Hall instead of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or the Ahmanson Theater — venues where the Music Center normally presents dance.
Later that year, the dance collective made its debut in with a performance in the galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art, for which Millepied created a 30-minute, site-specific duet, Framework, to a narrated soundtrack by artist Mark Bradford. The dance collective’s first program featured a Millepied premiere, 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. Millepied also spent time working with middle school students in Los Angeles and made a video featuring the jookin’ dancer Lil Buck. Other collaborators include Rodarte, Barbara Kruger, and Alex Israel, a contemporary California painter and video artist. L.A. Dance Project also commissioned a new work from Justin Peck, a dancer with City Ballet.
In 2012, Millepied's choreographed the musical Hands on a Hardbody, which debuted at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. In 2013, L.A. Dance Project will embark on an international tour that will include stops in London, Paris, Edinburgh and Spoleto, Italy. The tour will feature performances of new and existing repertory pieces.
From 2014, Millepied will reportedly take on the title of founding director and advisor at L.A. Dance Project, handing the leadership reins to another choreographer.
Paris Opera Ballet
In January 2013, it was announced that Millepied will be the new Director of Dance at the Paris Opera Ballet, starting in September 2014.
In 2010, he was made Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.
Millepied met actress Natalie Portman on the set of Black Swan in early 2009 and reportedly left his live-in girlfriend at the time, American Ballet Theatre dancer, now soloist, Isabella Boylston to pursue a relationship with the actress. Portman gave birth to their child, a son named Aleph Portman-Millepied in June 2011, and they were married the 4 August 2012.