Though American Ballet Theatre is known for producing top-tier stars, the company is giving its more junior dancers a chance to shine during their 2017 fall Lincoln Center season. ABT's opening night gala will feature a world premiere by Jessica Lang performed by ABT apprentices, members of the ABT Studio Company and advanced students from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.
Today, Artistic director Kevin McKenzie announced the addition of a new work by Benjamin Millepied showcasing 24 dancers from the Studio Company and JKO School. But this is no ordinary piece; Millepied has created a site specific work to be performed during select intermissions on the David H. Koch Theater promenade. Titled Counterpoint for Philip Johnson, the piece is described as "an ode to the theater's architect." It will feature costumes by sportswear designer Rag & Bone and music by minimalist composer Steve Reich. Counterpoint represents the first time that ABT will present a work at Lincoln Center to be performed outside of a proscenium theater. We're excited to see younger dancers at the forefront of such boundary-breaking work.
While site specific work is a valued part of the postmodern canon, it's scarcely used in ballet. Yet Millepied is no stranger to this kind of work. Millepied, the artistic director of L.A. Dance Project, has created a series of films for his company set in different urban locales (like the concrete sprawl of the Los Angeles River.) "Ben takes his work off the stage and offers the audience a different point of view," said McKenzie in a statement. "I think it will challenge one's expectations of how to experience dance."
Want to see more from this envelope-pushing choreographer? He's also creating a stage work for ABT's fall season on members of the main company titled I Feel the Earth Move.