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Benjamin Millepied was born in Bordeaux, France. He began his dance training at the age of eight with his mother, a former modern dancer. Millepied entered the Conservatoire National in Lyon, France at 13, where he studied ballet with Michel Rahn until he was 16 years old. In the Summer of 1992, he went to New York to study at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, and returned with a scholarship from the French Ministry (Bourse Lavoisier) to study full-time in the Fall of 1993. Millepied originated a principal role in Jerome Robbins’ world premiere of 2 & 3 Part Inventions set to music by Bach at SAB’s 1994 Spring Workshop. He received the Prix de Lausanne Award in 1994, was the recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in 1995, and was invited to become a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet. Millepied was made a principal dancer in the Spring of 2001.
At New York City Ballet, Millepied has danced featured roles in George Balanchine’s Agon, Ballo della Regina, Coppélia, Divertimento from Le Baiser de la Fée, The Nutcracker, Harlequinade, Rubies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Raymonda Variations, La Source, Stars and Stripes, Symphony in C, Tarantella, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Theme and Variations, Valse-Fantasie; Jerome Robbins’ 2 & 3 Part Inventions, Dances at a Gathering, Fancy Free, A Suite of Dances, In the Night, The Four Seasons, Interplay, Piano Pieces and West Side Story Suite. Additionally, Millepied originated roles in Peter Martins’ Hallelujah Junction and Swan Lake; Angelin Preljocaj’s La Stravaganza; Robbins’ Brandenburg and Les Noces; and Mauro Bigonzetti’s Vespro and In Vento. In 1999 and 2002, Millepied appeared in featured roles with New York City Ballet for the nationally televised Live From Lincoln Center broadcast.
Millepied’s choreographic works include Passages for the Conservatoire National de Lyon (2001), Triple Duet for Danses Concertantes performed at Sadler’s Wells, London (2002) and Circular Motion also for Danses Concertantes, London (2004); Chaconne, a dance film, co-directed by film-maker Olivier Simola (2003); On The Other Side for Danses Concertantes performed at Maison de la Danse, Lyon (2004); Double Aria by New York City Ballet, with the original score of Daniel Ott (2005);
28 Variations of an Theme By Paganini for the School of American Ballet (2005); an original full-length Casse-Noisette for the Grand Théâtre de Genève (2005); Closer as part of Benjamin Millepied and Company season at the Joyce Theater New York, with live accompaniment by Philip Glass (2006); Capriccio for American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company (2006); Years Later, a solo work for Mikhail Baryshnikov in collaboration with Mr. Simola (2006); Amoveo for the Paris Opera Ballet (2006); From Here On Out for ABT, original score by Nico Muhly (2007); Petrouchka for the Ballet de Genève (2007); Triade for the Paris Opera Ballet with an original score by Nico Muhly (2008); 3 Movements for Pacific Northwest Ballet (2008); Without for Danses Concertantes (2008); Quasi Una Fantasia for New York City Ballet (2009); Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once for ABT (2009); Sarabande for Danses Concertantes, premiered in Lyon (2009); Why Am I Not Where You Are with a commissioned score by Thierry Escaich for New York City Ballet (2010); Plainspoken with a commissioned score by David Lang for New York City Ballet (2010) and One thing leads to another with a commissioned score by Nico Muhly for Het National Ballet (2010). In 2010, Millepied choreographed and appeared in Darren Aronofsky’s feature film Black Swan.