Benjamin Millepied: Ballet’s modern position

Benjamin Millepied is premiering his new work in Philly.

While the other relationship that he struck up on set has attracted all the attention, dancer Benjamin Millepied’s experience choreographing Darren Aronofsky’s dark ballet thriller “Black Swan” also led to a bond with the Pennsylvania Ballet, which provided dancers for the film.

“They were really good to work with, really musical and professional and they had all the attributes that I would have wanted,” Millepied says of the PA Ballet dancers, with whom the future Mr. Natalie Portman has reunited for a new world premiere. “It was hard, but we had a very good time working together. And that’s the way it’s been [working on the new piece]. The energy and the spirit have been very positive.”

Millepied’s new work, “This Part In Darkness,” accompanies two classic works by the legendary George Balanchine. His piece, set to the rhythmically driven “Pierced” by Pulitzer-winning modern composer David Lang, incorporates live video projections capturing dancers on and off the stage.

Realizing that  many first-time ballet-goers will be enticed to attend thanks to the “Black Swan” connection, Millepied is pleased that they’ll form an idea of what contemporary ballet can be. “I hope it shows modernity,” he says. “It’s a wonderful modern classical score, with a real edge and intensity, and I try to capture that intensity in the dance. I hope that the ballet seems relevant to this time.”

Pennsylvania Ballet: ‘Building on Balanchine’
Tonight through Sunday
Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St., $20-$139, 215-893-1999


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