Benjamin Millepied Is Shaking Things Up at Paris Opéra Ballet

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!

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