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BWW Dance Review: Relève


To judge by the film Reset (Relève)), which was recently shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, Benjamin Millepied, the soon to depart director of the Paris Opera Ballet, was a very lucky man. He could choreograph and commission works, construct innovative social media platforms and re-direct the school, along with dealing with entrenched hierarchies, bureaucracies, and all the other chies and cies that go with it.

Sounds like any other new artistic director, doesn't it?

But not, it seems, according to Mr. Millepied. He wanted it all--at once. Even for a modest dance company it takes, according to my mathematical genius and skills, at least three years to totally realize any significant changes. There's "the honeymoon period;" the "getting to work period"; the "actual working period with its concomitant battles, insults, and blames"; the "let's look back at what we've done so we can correct the mistakes period"; and then "the post-traumatic let's celebrate period." Perhaps there might even be the "it's all been an unmitigated failure period, who do we blame?"

Does that ring a bell with anyone?

Not with Mr. Millepied. A leading dancer with the New York City Ballet for many years, he seemed like the right person for the job. Very much as the late, beloved Violette Verdy did when she took over the position many years ago. But he wanted things to change quickly, without paying much heed to people in high positions who might be antagonized or feel jeopardized by his decisions. As it was, he accomplished more in the short time he was there than most people could in a decade.

Perhaps Mr. Millepied should have attended the Columbia University Business School when he still resided in New York. I think he would have benefitted from such courses as business planning and models, metrics, time planning and dealing with those who you think don't measure up to your standards, especially in management, and should have been terminated years ago.

What do you call that class?

That's what makes the film so difficult to criticize. Mr. Millepied choreographs his new ballet, and he has everything he wants at his disposal. Sure there are gripes here and there, but it seems like smooth sailing all the way. I would have liked to see the frustrations, heard the arguments, or seen him receding into silence as he contemplated his next move.

Mr. Millepied plans to move back to Los Angeles to work with the L.A. Dance Project, a company he founded in 2012 to invigorate and enhance the contemporary ballet scene. From what I have read, he will have complete and total control.

I hope his board of directors agrees with him on all his decisions. Judging from the company's home page, there isn't a board.

Now that's one lucky person!!!!!

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From This Author Barnett Serchuk

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