Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The MusicCenter Kicks Off Season in September

Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The MusicCenter Kicks Off Season in September

Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The MusicCenter will kick-off its 2012-2013 10th Anniversary season with its commission of the inaugural full-length program by L.A. Dance Project founded by acclaimed choreographer Benjamin Millepied. The L.A. Dance Project commission will have its premiere performances September 22 and 23, 2012 at The Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The program will include Millepied's World Premiere specifically created for The Music Center in collaboration with composer Nico Muhly and artist Christopher Wool with costumes by Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte; "Quintett" (1993) by William Forsythe with music by Gavin Bryars; and "Winterbranch" (1964) by Merce Cunningham, music by La Monte Young and costumes and object conceived by Robert Rauschenberg. The program will be performed by Amanda Wells, Julia Eichten, Frances Chaverini, Charlie Hodge, Morgan Lugo, Nathan Makolandra and Benjamin Millepied, all of whom are now based in Los Angeles.

Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) was a leader of the American avant-garde throughout his seventy-year career and is considered one of the most important choreographers of our time. Through much of his life, he was also one of the greatest American dancers. With an artistic career distinguished by constant innovation, Cunningham expanded the frontiers not only of dance, but also of contemporary visual and performing arts. His collaborations with artistic innovators from every creative discipline have yielded an unparalleled body of American dance, music, and visual art. "Winterbranch" premiered in Hartford CT and was performed all over the world during the company's 1964 tour and caused a sensation wherever it was given. It remained in repertory until 1976.

William Forsythe (born in 1949 in New York) is recognized worldwide as a leading choreographer whose radical interpretation of contemporary ballet has re-defined the medium. Using the universal language of classical ballet as a foundation, Forsythe has created his own ingenious movement vocabulary. "Quintett" which Forsythe has called a waltz for five dancers, premiered in Frankfurt in 1993 at a time when his young wife was terminally ill. William Forsythe didn't exactly approach the creation of "Quintett" in 1993 as an elegy or even memento mori--. He planned it as a final love letter to her before she died.

Millepied – known for his acclaimed choreographies for the Paris Opera Ballet and NYC Ballet, as well as for his workon the award-winning film BLACK SWAN - is a leading dancer, choreographer, artist, and director.

Millepied's L.A. Dance Project is a curatorial collective, which includes composer Nico Muhly, art consultant Matthieu Humery, video producer Dimitri Chamblas and producer Charles Fabius. Together, they conceive, commission, and present original programs exploring new ways to promote dance. Different from a dance company, L.A. Dance Project fosters and curates artist collaborations for the theatre stage as well as for specific sites and promotes educational programs. It is the Collective's goal to create new work and to revive seminal collaborations from the past. Programs will include full-length evenings in traditional theater venues as well as various modular performances in non-traditional environments. L.A. Dance Project hopes to establish a new working model and to reach out to new audiences.

Each project is developed through preliminary think tanks and workshops in L.A. and subsequently presented throughout the world. Christopher Wool and Mark Bradford are the first artists to collaborate with L.A. Dance Project.

L.A. Dance Project has taken up residence in Downtown L.A. at Los Angeles Theatre Center, at the heart of a vibrant community, steps away from The Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall and MOCA, two institutions first to present the Collective's projects in 2012.

Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center commissions and premieres the initial full-length program on September 22, 2012 with L.A. Dance Project presenting partners Chatelet, Paris, Maison de la Danse, Lyon and Sadler's Wells, London. A worldwide tour, which includes works by Cunningham, Forsythe and Millepied, continues through 2013. The Paris Chatelet is Presenting Partner for The Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall World Premiere. L.A. Dance Project has established further International partnerships with Sadler's Wells, London and Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France.

The L.A. Dance Project engagement is supported in part by Lead Sponsor Center Dance Arts.Opening night celebration sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Renae Williams Niles, Director of Programming for The Music Center, says, "We are extremely honored to work with Benjamin on his first Los Angeles based project. Benjamin has established himself as one of the world's most commissioned choreographers. We feel Millepied's commitment to create new work right here and bring together local and internationally renowned artists is worthy of support. For The Music Center to play this significant national and international role allows us to achieve our goals of leadership in a phenomenally influential way."

About Benjamin Millepied

Born in Bordeaux, France, Benjamin Millepied began his dance training at the age of eight with his mother Catherine Millepied, a former modern dancer. From the age of thirteen to the age of sixteen he attended the Conservatoire National de Lyon, studying classical ballet under Michel Rahn.

In the summer of 1992, Millepied made his first appearance in New York City for a summer program at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. The following year, he became a full-time student at the school, having received the "Bourse Lavoisier," a scholarship award from the French Ministry of Culture. In the 1994 School of American Ballet Spring Workshop, Millepied originated a principal role in Jerome Robbins' 2 & 3 Part Inventions, set to music by J.S Bach. He was awarded the "Prix de Lausanne" the same year. In his last year at SAB, Millepied received the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise and was invited to become a member of New York City Ballet.

In the spring of 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer. In 2004 and 2005, Millepied directed the Morris Center Dance Workshop in Bridgehampton, New York. From 2006 to 2007, he was choreographer-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. In 2007, Millepied received the United States Artists Wynn Fellowship. In 2010, he was made Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.

In 2010, Benjamin choreographed the feature film "BLACK SWAN". Benjamin retired from New York City Ballet in 2011, and in 2012, he formed a new company based in Los Angeles, L.A Dance Project. Benjamin is currently the face of Yves Saint Laurent's fragrance "l'homme libre".

Benjamin's ballets are danced by companies such as, New York City Ballet, The Paris Opera, The Maryiinsky, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet de Geneve, Ballet de Lyon, Dutch National Ballet. His collaborators include artists and composers such as Nico Muhly, David Lang, Philip Glass, Paul Cox, Rodarte, Thierry Escaich, Daniel Ott, RodeRick Murray, Santiago Calatrava. Benjamin's first staging of a musical, "Hands on a Hardbody" will open on Broadway in New York in 2013.

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