Benjamin Millepied’s New Paris Opéra Ballet

Benjamin Millepied announced his first full season of Paris Opéra Ballet programming on Wednesday with a monumental coup: William Forsythe will join the company as associate choreographer. Lately, Forsythe has been largely absent from the classical world—he has directed the Forsythe Company since its foundation in 2005, and has dedicated his choreography to more experiemental contemporary dance. He stepped down from the company’s directorship in 2013, and in May 2014, University of Southern California announced that he would join the faculty at the new Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Now, with a new POB work slated for 2016, it seems that he’s ready to return to the company that performed his groundbreaking In the middle, somewhat elevated in 1987. 


Millepied also announced the creation of an (as yet, vague) online platform called “3e Scene,” or “third stage”—which will allow POB to showcase its own content creation and collaborations with other artists. Clearly, Millepied has ideas about content creation, directing sleek videos that feature his dancers and using his own Instagram account (which has more followers than the official POB account) to showcase behind-the-scenes efforts at the ballet. Additionally, Millepied plans to debut a Paris Opéra Academy (not to be confused with the Paris Opéra Ballet School)—a two-year residency program for two outside choreographers and three chosen from within the company.


Beyond the new Forsythe, the rest of the 2015/2016 season looks very similar to New York City Ballet’s repertoire. It will include work by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon. The season will feature new work by NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck, as well as one of Millepied’s own pieces. The company will only perform three full-length ballets: Romeo and Juliet, La Bayadère and Giselle.

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