What makes Los Angeles such an elusive place for ballet? The city is a cultural capital when you look at it in terms of music, theater and visual art, not to mention film. But for some reason, concert dance has never been able to set down roots with any permanence or prestige. Even Los Angeles Ballet's name-brand directors and choreographers haven't been able to lift that company out of pick-up troupe status.
Benjamin Millepied's the latest intrepid choreographer to give So Cal a shot. His strategy with his much talked-about LA Dance Project is to build less of a dance company, and more of a collective of artists. Composer Nico Muhly, art consultant Matthieu Humery, producer Charles Fabius, film producer Dimitri Chamblas and Millepied all lead the team together. Millepied also throws around the word "accessible" quite a bit, with a number of plans to take concert dance out of the concert hall and into younger arenas such as rooftops and museums and videos.
One thing's for sure: Millepied's Hollywood credentials, courtesy of Black Swan and Natalie Portman, have given him a notoriety that has everybody watching, even people outside of the dance world. The latest feature article about his project came out yesterday in the Los Angeles Downtown News. Everyone's looking to see what happens when the company debuts this weekend, if the city will finally find a concert dance troupe that Angelenos can get behind.