Esplanade Presents | da:ns festival

Dance

Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project

L.A. Dance Project (USA)
24 & 25 Oct 2017Tue & Wed
8pm
1hr 20mins (including 20min intermission)
Esplanade Theatre
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Tote Board Arts Grant

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Experience the power and grace of dance in an evening of four diverse works performed by L.A. Dance Project, featuring some of the best dancers from America led by renowned artist Benjamin Millepied. A former artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet and principal dancer of New York City Ballet, Millepied has created works for leading ballet companies around the world, and his accolades include choreographing and starring in the Oscar-winning film Black Swan.

The evening begins with a tribute to the American icon of modern dance, Martha Graham, in three rarely seen duets - White, Star and Moon – which draw from her 1957 film A Dancer’s World. The first duet is inspired by the “White Duet” from Diversion of Angels, a Graham classic that is still performed around the world. The second and third duet are the only recorded sections of Canticle for Innocent Comedians, a Graham work created in 1952 and considered to be lost. 

Upping the pace is Murder Ballades by Justin Peck, resident choreographer at the New York City Ballet, a vivacious work “loosely inspired by the tradition of American murder ballads, which infuses its athletic, often cheery movement with a sinister undercurrent”, according to The New York Times.

Two works by Millepied, both set to music by Philip Glass, will display his complex craftsmanship at its best. The first is Closer. an exquisite duet of crystalline beauty and delicacy set to Glass’s rhapsodic piano score Mad Rush.

The second piece is Hearts & Arrows, commissioned by Van Cleef & Arpels (a long-standing supporter of Millepied) and set to Glass’s sublime String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima). In a “propulsive, kinetic stream of movement”, eight dancers “move through asymmetrical and contrapuntal patterns, surging in and out of groups, separating into solos and pairs. Tiny narratives, emotion, histories, memories are evoked in the way the dancers coalesce and part, the surprise of formations and their dissolution.” (The New York Times)

About L.A. Dance Project and Benjamin Millepied
Formed in 2012, L.A. Dance Project aims to create new work and to revive seminal collaborations by influential dance makers. Its programmes have a cross-disciplinary focus, and can range from evenings in traditional venues to site-specific performances in unconventional environments. They often work with visual artists, musicians, designers, film directors and composers. The company also creates various innovative platforms to expand the experience of dance and dance education to audiences of all ages.

The dance company was founded by Benjamin Millepied, a Bordeaux-born dancer-choreographer now based in Los Angeles. A principal dancer for New York City Ballet for 10 years, he left in 2011 and was appointed Director of Dance at Paris Opera Ballet in 2014. He also worked on the Darren Aronofsky film Black Swan (2010), for which he created choreography and starred as a dancer.

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