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April 19 2014

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L.A. Gets A New Dance Company Of Its Own—And A Supportive A-List Fan Base To Match

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One-company-town reputation aside, Los Angeles is the epicenter of a wide variety of artistic disciplines beyond film. Choreographer Benjamin Millepied (left)—at least as well known, if not better, in Hollywood-loving L.A. as the husband of Natalie Portman—aims to make one more at home with the launch of the L.A. Dance Project, a curatorial collective conceived by Millepied, composer Nico Muhly, art consultant Matthieu Humery, video producer Dimitri Chamblas, and producer Charles Fabius.

Following the sold-out premiere performance at Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, Millepied emphasized the influence of the city on his new venture. “The identity of Los Angeles is going to be very important to me,” he said. “It’s a city so rich in artists and culture that I would really like the dance company to embrace that and carry it throughout.” The debut program included Millepied’s own Moving Parts, a performance of William Forsythe’s Quintett, and the first showing of Merce Cunningham’s Winterbranch in 50 years. In the audience: locals like Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who designed the costumes for the performance, as well as fans Robert Pattinson, Rashida Jones, and Dita Von Teese.

Portman, for her part, wearing a gown from Raf Simons’ first collection for Dior Haute Couture and jewels from Van Cleef & Arpels, was just as enthusiastic as her husband about the future of dance in Los Angeles. “It is always amazing to have things expressed that can’t be expressed in other mediums, and it makes you feel things that words or sound can’t make you feel,” she said. “We didn’t have a dance company and now we do. It’s amazing that Ben is bringing it here.”

Photo: Alex Berlinger/ABPhoto.com

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  1. 10_04_1990 says:

    While I am excited at the idea of more dance coming to the Los Angeles area, I must say that I am a bit offended by Ms. Portman’s statement, “We didn’t have a dance company, and now we do. It’s amazing that Ben is bringing it here” I found it very strange that she could say such a thing when the Los Angeles Ballet has been performing here in Los Angeles for the last 6 years and going into it’s 7th season. As a company dancer for the Los Angeles Ballet I am offended by this statement because we present neoclassical, classical, AND contemporary works in many venues around Southern California. The dancers come from all of the USA, many from right here in California, Australia, China, AND Japan (just to name a few). The company’s co-artistic directors Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen have been guest choreographers on sytycd and the company has been featured on the show as well. Los Angeles Ballet very frequently brings in acclaimed choreographers to mold brand new contemporary works on the dancers. So, Natalie claiming there was no company here is absurd. In addition to the Los Angeles Ballet and the eclectic rep presented each year, there are many smaller contemporary dance companies, groups, and “projects” who perform here frequently and don’t get recognized. It’s exciting to have Ben bringing more dance here, like I said, but let’s not dismiss and disregard the dancers and artists who’ve been here for years bringing top notch art to audiences in the southern California area. Los Angeles Ballet is going into it’s 7th season and will be presenting some of George Balanchine’s master pieces. For more info about the company and our performances please visit http://www.losangelesballet.org.

    With Love, in Dance.

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