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Thursday, October 9, 2014

In Context: L.A. Dance Project

Benjamin Millepied's L.A. Dance Project comes to BAM from October 16—18. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of original blog pieces, articles, interviews, and videos related to the artists and the production. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Program Notes

L.A. Dance Project (PDF)


Bounding Ambition: Benjamin Millepied Takes Over the Paris Opera Ballet (The New Yorker)
“Classical ballet’s most prominent ambassador” has another new gig.

Justin Peck on Murder Ballades (BAM Blog)
Peck discusses his collaboration with composer Bryce Dessner, based on a group of grisly folk songs.

Barbara Kruger Takes the Stage with L.A. Dance Project (BAM Blog)
The influential artist's entree into theater is surprising only in that it hasn't happened earlier.

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Sébastien Marcovici (BAM Blog)
L.A. Dance Project's ballet master talks risk, ritual, and street art.

L.A. Dance Project’s Charles Fabius (
The LA Dance Project co-founder discusses the ambitious dance collective.

Talking Murder Ballads + Sneakers With Justin Peck (
The choreographer talks about eschewing pointe shoes, Jerome Robbins, and more.

Barbara Kruger’s Work Speaks Truth to Power (
Kruger’s art, featured in Benjamin Millepied’s work "Reflections," concerns “the fantasy-fueled appetite to consume.”


Live Stream
A Talk with Benjamin Millepied and Deborah Jowitt (BAM)
Tune in on October 15 at 7pm to see Millepied talk with the dance critic about his newly founded artist collective on the occasion of its New York debut at BAM.

Excerpt from Quintett (
Get a taste of this moving work by William Forsythe, written in memory of his late wife.

Benjamin Millepied’s “Medusa” (YouTube)
Millepied’s dancers get wet in this slow-motion collaboration with Rodarte, set to Schubert.

“The Weight of Gold,” Forest Swords (
Millepied directed this music video featuring dancer Billy Barry. 

Now your turn...

So how did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below.


  1. We loved it. The dancers were amazing. So much fun to watch.

  2. The choreographies were amazing but we hated the music of the first and third parts, especially the third one, we almost left, it was becoming unbearable.
    The dancers were phenomenal though.

  3. I agree with anonymous about the music but disagree about the choreography. not only
    was the music hateful (most especially the last piece!!) but the choreography or what passed
    for choreography in the first and last was uninteresting. justin peck, on the other hand,
    continues to grow and prove his mettle with each new outing. happily, he also seems to be
    everywhere. in the past 10 days I saw his work on three different companies. more peck, less
    millepied (what is paris opera in for I wonder) and no more forsythe.

  4. Hard to have a perfect miss, but this was it. Backdrops were bad, sets were bad. Blinding light in the audiences eyes in the first set for no particular reason. Music was distracting and poor. Dancers not entirely in sync (where is Bob Fosse now that we need him). Limited number of movements which were unoriginal and repetitive -- how many times could a dancer crawl under an arch made by others, or a woman jump at the side of a man and then push off. Choreography was uninventive - groupings, individual and together added nothing, similarly for too much work on the ground. Then milking the audience with multiple curtain calls after each set was above and beyond insulting. My entire party was ready to walk out after the first set, but we stayed for the second, imagining that it could only get better. We were wrong.

  5. The audience loved the show! I know nothing about modern dance but I found the first two acts enjoyable. Great athleticism from the dancers. However, the one handed piano music became tiresome after some time.

  6. Forsythe overschadowed all (without any help of an artist)!

  7. I first saw L.A. Dance Project at Montclair State University's Peak Performances series. What drew me to them at that time was the music by composers I admire, plus the restaging of Cunningham's "Winterbranch." I was delighted by the dancers' skill and the varied choreography of that evening. When I saw that they were coming to BAM, I leaped at the chance to see them again. I am glad I did. It was thrilling to not only see the use of visual art (especially Kruger's set design), live music by cutting edge composers, and tender, athletic choreography executed by a company of extremely talented dancers. I think all of the curtain calls were well deserved. I will say that the first time I saw Quintett (at Montclair State), I was thrilled that the dance was set to this piece of Gavin Bryars' music, because I am a fan of his work. Interestingly, last night at BAM it did start grating on my nerves a little, but that was probably a little due to the fact that I had already seen the piece so the newness of it was lost. Still, the beautiful dancing moved me, as it did in all of the evening's pieces. It was also a real treat to hear David Lang's music performed live, as well as eighth blackbird's wonderful performance of Bryce Dessner's work. I hope the company continues to collaborate with visual artists, cutting edge composers and exciting choreographers — both past and present.

  8. I go to as many dance performances as I can at BAM and this one did not disappoint. I went with three friends and the consensus was that it was a really great show. My friends weren't in love with the music on the last piece, but that might have been my favorite. The dancers were phenomenal, the sets were right (loved the first one), choreography was lovely, and it all fit together nicely with the music. If I hadn't left town for a few days, I would have gone another night just to see it again. I saw Wild Grass the night before and while it was good, the quality of the dancing and my enjoyment of the choreography was nothing compared to this one.

    My only complaint is that we were in the front and the percussionist in the second number was too tall and blocked much of my view. He should have been seated or lowered somehow.

  9. See today's NYTimes which damns it with faint praise. This emperor has no clothes.

  10. The Peck piece was balletic and modern, dancers were wonderful as was the music. By contrast, the Millipied and Forsythe choreography seemed amateurish, repetitive and the Forsythe music became unbearable.

  11. Music awful
    Choreography boring
    This gives dance a bad name !

  12. i loved the show pure excellence!!!

  13. Amazing show! I took my 8-year old daughter and she loved it. Music for the last piece was quite long but nonetheless beautiful dancing.

  14. I was drawn by the choreographers' reputations and though I hate to agree with Alistair in the NY Times, I think he is spot on. What a waste of time and money. The dancers were amazing, but without serious choreography, what can they do? Even good work in the program was too long. The first dance was a total waste of time.

  15. The house doctor should have been called for the dancers who were having convulsions.
    The pianist in the first awful piece should not have tuned his piano during the dance.

  16. Forsythe piece (Quintette) was by far the best--so amazingly moving and powerful. I found that repetition in the music which some people complained about worked for me--made it that much more haunting. Murder mystery (2nd piece) was supremely entertaining but a little thin. Opening piece (Millipied) didn't do much for me--dancing was too stagey--maybe too close to traditional ballet for my taste.

    Also major pet peeve: people applauding between movements rather than waiting until the end of the piece--