Born in France, Benjamin Millepied began his dance training at the age of eight with his mother, Catherine Flori a former modern dancer, while learning track and field from his father Denys Millepied, a former Decathlete. From the age of thirteen to the age of sixteen he attended the Conservatoire National de Lyon, studying with Marie France Dieulevin and Michel Rahn. In the summer of 1992, Mr. Millepied came to New York City to attend the summer program at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. The following year, he became a full-time student at the school, having received the “Bourse Lavoisier,” a scholarship award from the French Ministry. At SAB he studied with Stanley Williams and Adam Luders. In the 1994 SAB Spring Workshop, Mr. Millepied originated a principal role in Jerome Robbins’ 2 & 3 Part Inventions, set to music by J.S Bach. He was awarded the “Prix de Lausanne” the same year. In his last year at SAB, Mr. Millepied received the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise and was invited to become a member of New York City Ballet. In the spring of 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer at NYCB, where he remained until his retirement as a dancer in 2011.
With the New York City Ballet, Mr. Millepied danced a vast repertoire of works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Many original roles were also created for him by Jerome Robbins, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Mauro Bigonzetti, Angelin Preljocaj, Peter Martins, among others.
Mr. Millepied started choreographing in 2001, and in 2002 he founded “Danses Concertantes”. The company gathered different dancers for each tour, and for over 8 years performed new works and ballet repertory in prestigious venues all over the world.
From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Millepied was choreographer-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. During his time at BAC, Mr. Millepied created the solo “Years Later” for Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 2007, he received the United States Artists Wynn Fellowship. In 2010, he was made Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.
Mr. Millepied’s many ballets are in the repertory of major dance companies around the world including the New York City Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Berlin Staatsoper, the Mariinsky Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet de Geneve, the Lyon Opera Ballet, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the greek National Ballet, and the Dutch National Ballet. His collaborators include composers and artists such as Nico Muhly, David Lang, Thierry Escaich, Philip Glass, Daniel Buren, UVA, Mark Bradford, Christopher Wool, Barbara Kruger, Paul Cox, Rodarte, Alessandro Sartori, Iris Van Herpen, and Santiago Calatrava.
In 2010, Mr. Millepied choreographed and starred in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
In 2012, Mr. Millepied moved to Los Angeles, where he conceived of and founded the new dance company L.A. Dance Project. L.A. Dance Project’s mission is to promote new collaborative work by emerging and established artists, and to revisit influential multidisciplinary dance collaborations from the past. The company creates innovative platforms for contemporary dance and expands the experience of dance and dance education to audiences of all ages.
During L.A. Dance Project’s September, 2012 inaugural performances at the Los Angeles Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, the company performed Moving Parts, a collaboration between Mr. Millepied, composer Nico Muhly, and visual artist Christopher Wool. In May 2013, L.A. Dance Project presented Reflections, a new work which was the result of a collaboration between Mr. Millepied, composer David Lang, artist Barbara Kruger, and which was created with the support of the historic jewelry house Van Cleef and Arpels.
In 2013, Millepied founded the Amoveo Company with composer Nicholas Britell. Amoveo is an artist collective, active in digital media, television and film.
In 2014, Millepied co-founded Artform with Nicholas Britell, a tech start-up company aimed to support and promote the Arts and artists in this current time.
Millepied is also a film director, he has directed numerous dance short films over the last 6 years, and is currently in development on a feature film.
In January 2013 the Paris Opera Ballet announced Mr. Millepied’s appointment as its new Director, in February 2016, Benjamin resigned from his position.
In July 2016, Benjamin came back full time at the helm of L.A Dance Project.
Mr. Millepied's choreographic style his is own -- fleet, with the body often arrested in sudden still positions that draw the eye to the beauty of line in classical ballet. His partnering is inventive without being overly manipulative. He is highly musical and although the ballet is abstract, the gestures and groupings often suggest a social world, evoking thoughts of friendship, love, power, isolation, fear and hardship.
"Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward" Paris Opera Ballet. 2015 NY Times
Écrin de gris tendu, costumes d'Iris van Herpen, Millepied dresse le portrait léché d'une génération vrillée d'inquiétudes. Très New York City Ballet dans le rapport de la danse à la musique, son écriture se distingue par sa manière de souligner la beauté des danseurs et l'extrême sophistication du dessin des groupes, qui s'enroulent ou se décalent dans des lignes, jouant le quinconce et la spirale, pour inventer une géométrie moelleuse qui épouse les mille lois de l'attraction des sexes.
Le Figaro, 2015 " Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward"
A buoyant, breezy, androgynous athleticism drives the choreography’s momentum, while fleeting moments of contact between dancers – casually matey, questioningly romantic, hotly intense – create a subtext of emotion that feels natural and very contemporary.As different as Millepied’s vocabulary is from Balanchine’s, he is his natural heir when it comes to making patterns. Hearts and Arrows proliferates, gorgeously, with staggered formations, braided currents, counterpoint and canon.
The Guardian 2016 "Hearts and Arrows"
His "Daphnis and Chloe", with décor by the french artist Daniel Buren, is that rarest of creatures: A new classical ballet that feels contemporary, not because it imposes a bit of extraneous modernity ( some electronic music; a little talking), but because of the sensibilities of its creators. Ravel's shimmering score, Mr Buren's restrained, color infused geometric forms that hover the stage, Madjid Hakimi's poetic, opalescent lighting and Mr Millepied's pared-down, fluid choreography, beautifully danced, combine to produce a work that realizes Fokine's century-old wishes.
The New York Times 2014. "Daphnis and Chloe"
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