Benjamin Millepied is a choreographer, filmmaker, and former principal dancer with New York City Ballet. He was born in Bordeaux, France and grew up in Senegal until age five, where he began dancing. At eleven years old, he began studying classical ballet with Vladimir Skouratoff at the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux. From 1990 to 1993, he attended the Conservatoire National Superieur de Lyon, where he continued his studies with Marie-France Dieulevin and Michel Rahn. He moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet in 1993, studying under the direction of Stanley Williams and Adam Luders, and performed as part of the original cast of Jerome Robbins’ “2 & 3 Part Inventions.” Mr. Millepied joined New York City Ballet in 1995 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2001. During his time with NYCB, Mr. Millepied performed a vast repertory of works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and he originated roles in ballets by Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Mauro Bigonzetti, Angelin Preljoçaj, Peter Martins, and Jerome Robbins.
Mr. Millepied began his choreographic career in 2001 and soon founded the pick-up troupe Danses Concertantes as vehicle for his choreography and commissions. In 2006, he served as a choreographer-in-residence at The Baryshnikov Arts Center and created the solo Years Later for Mikhail Baryshnikov. Since 2005, Mr. Millepied has choreographed for NYCB, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Berlin Staatsoper, The Mariinsky Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Geneva Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet. Over the years, Mr. Millepied has collaborated on new works with artists Mark Bradford, Christopher Wool, Barbara Kruger, Liam Gillick, Rodarte, Thierry Escaich, and United Visual Artists. Composer Nico Muhly and Benjamin have created six ballets together. In 2010, Millepied both choreographed and starred inDarren Aronofsky’s award-winning film Black Swan.
Mr. Millepied moved to Los Angeles in 2012 and co-founded the L.A. Dance Project with Charles Fabius. The company has since performed hundreds of shows at both prestigious theaters and non-traditional venues, and has commissioned multiple dance films. In 2018, Mr. Millepied found a new home for LADP at 2245. The space serves as both the company’s rehearsal and performance studios, as well as a residency space for dance artists in the community.
In January 2013, Mr. Millepied was appointed to serve as the Director of the Paris Opera Ballet. While at the helm, Mr. Millepied created a dance medicine program at Paris Opera, launched a digital stage, and commissioned new works by William Forsythe, Jerome Bel, Wayne McGregor, Justin Peck, Crystal Pite, and Tino Seghal; he revived works by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Maguy Marin; and he invited Batsheva Dance Company for the first time at the Opera. Mr. Millepied resigned in 2016 to pursue his career as a choreographer and filmmaker. Directors Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai chronicle Millepied’s tenure at Paris Opera in their critically-acclaimed documentary Reset.
Millepied recently finished production on his directorial feature debut, Carmen. The film will be released worldwide in 2022 by Sony Pictures Classics.
Mr. Millepied has been awarded the prestigious Bourse Lavoisier Scholarship from the French government, a winner of the Prix de Lausanne, a recipient of SAB’s Mae. L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise, and a United States Artists Wynn Fellow in Dance. In 2010 he was awarded the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.