Thursday, 24 January 2013

Black Swan star Millepied named Paris Opera dance director

PARIS: French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, best known for a role alongside his future wife Natalie Portman in the film "Black Swan", was Thursday named dance director at the Paris Opera.

The 35-year-old, who began his career at the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to become a principal dancer in 2002,
will replace Brigitte Lefevre at the prestigious Paris establishment in October 2014, the opera said.

Millepied and Portman met on the set of the ballet-themed 2010 thriller "Black Swan," which earned the US actress a best actress Oscar for her role as a ballerina driven close to madness by her quest for perfection.

Millepied shot to mainstream fame as the film's choreographer.

Born to a dance teacher mother, Millepied grew up between Senegal and France and says he was shaped by the twin influences, the "rigidity of classical dance and the freedom of African dance" as well as jazz and contemporary music.

A prolific choreographer, he has created some 25 pieces in the past decade in parallel with his dance career. In 2011 he launched his own dance company in Los Angeles called LA Dance Project.

The Paris Opera, with 150 dancers, is one of the the world's grandest and most traditional dance ensembles.

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