Benjamin Millepied Out at Paris Opéra, Aurélie Dupont In
No one who knows Benjamin Millepied expected him to last long at Paris Opéra Ballet—not even Benjamin Millepied. But few would have predicted he'd be gone quite so quickly.
After Paris Match first reported rumors yesterday that Millepied was stepping down as artistic director, the company held a press conference today confirming the news, and announced Aurélie Dupont as his successor starting this July. According to The New York Times, Millepied will return to Los Angeles with his wife, Natalie Portman, to focus on his own choreography and expand L.A. Dance Project.
Millepied choreographing on Aurélie Dupont last year. Photo by Agathe Poupeney, Courtesy POB
Since taking the post in November 2014, Millepied introduced a slew of bold innovations to the historic company with an attitude that some might call chutzpah, and others might call arrogance. He created a short-lived choreographic academy (currently on hiatus), he named William Forsythe associate choreographer (Forsythe tells the Times he will not be staying after his one-year contract finishes), he developed an online platform of dance-based short films called "3e Scène" or "3rd Stage" (which will remain online, but will become more focused on music and opera). He brought in top choreographers like Justin Peck and Wayne McGregor to create new ballets, overhauled the company's healthcare system and shook up the hierarchical casting structure by giving younger dancers lead roles.
As Millepied told Dance Magazine contributor Laura Cappelle in our May 2015 issue, "My time here is also a chance to do something different for a while.... At some point I won’t be here anymore—I’m sure they’ll get to do other ballets again."
It seems that Millepied's temperament is more suited to creating and innovating than managing the day-to-day administrative duties of running a ballet company of 154 dancers. Cappelle gave a live tweet of the press conference today, and shares that Stephane Lissner, the director who hired Millepied, said, "For a few weeks in December, we discussed with Benjamin his ability to direct the company while choreographing. It's his decision. An artist needs time to create." Millepied will choreograph on the company next season (the full details of which will be announced next week). "I have no regrets over appointing Millepied. He leaves too soon, but others leave too late," added Lissner.
For her part, Aurélie Dupont, who's been a face of the company for decades as one of its most beloved étoiles, seems happily surprised by her new appointment. "I have so much passion for this company. I've been here for 32 years. I want to continue, and continue what Benjamin has done," she said, though she added, "It's a classical company which does contemporary work, and it will never be the reverse with me," which seems to be a comment on the fact that Millepied has programmed only two classical ballets for next season.
Dupont has no ambitions as a choreographer, and simply seems committed to doing what's right for the company. "I'll do my best, I promise! I told myself: You can do it—it's your home," she said. "It's a love story with Paris Opéra Ballet. You lose your soul when you join it. It takes time to change things, and I will take my time."
What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.
Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.
For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?
Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.