Whoa, you guys: Benjamin Millepied does not mess around.

Ever since it was announced, back in 2013, that he'd become director of the Paris Opéra Ballet, Millepied has been talking about pushing the historic company forward. But today he revealed POB's upcoming season—the first he's been able to plan himself—and it became clear that all that talk wasn't just talk.

Millepied (center) in the studio with POB (photo Agathe Poupeney/POB)

Let's start with the biggest piece of news: Millepied is bringing William Forsythe in as associate choreographer. This is HUGE! Forsythe is one of the dance world's most gifted artists, period. And he actually has quite a history with the Paris Opéra Ballet. He created his masterpiece In the middle, somewhat elevated for the company back in 1983 (starring a young Sylvie Guillem!), and the genre-defying work ushered in a new era for POB—for ballet as a whole, really. Forsythe went on to experiment with more radical forms of dance-theater, but now he's back at the ballet, and I, for one, am crazy happy about it.

POB's Valentine Colasante and Marc Moreau in Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated (photo Anne Deniau/POB)

The season will also include new works by Wayne McGregor, our friend Justin Peck and Millepied himself. And the programming reveals Millepied's connections to New York City Ballet, where he was formerly a principal. Ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky—all NYCB mainstays—will join the POB repertory.

So yeah, basically, now I want to live in Paris even more than I already did. Le sigh. Come visit us soon, you belles Français!

William Forsythe with Jodie Gates, the director of USC's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.
(photo by Ian Carney)

You may have read that legendary choreographer William Forsythe is leaving his company to join the faculty of the new BFA program at University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. (The school will enroll its first class for the fall 2015 semester.) Forsythe will be leading composition and improvisation courses and mentoring the USC International Artist Fellows—a program for emerging artists. He'll also serve as the the artistic advisor to the school's Choreographic Institute.

The university has also announced that dancers will have the opportunity to work with professors and students at USC's School of Cinematic Arts—particularly with the animation department. This is super cool, especially since we already know what amazing things happen when dance and animation meet (ahem, Duet). The collaboration, however, has already started: Take a look at the School of Dance's website, which was created by cinematic arts associate professor Mike Patterson.

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