The announcement came on the morning of January 24th from Nicolas Joel, general director of the ballet company. Benjamin Millepied will succeed Brigitte Lefèvre, current artistic director, when she retires in 2014.
Millepied was a surprising choice. It had been anticipated that someone would be selected from inside the Paris Opera Ballet, a company that places a high value on its traditions. "The shortlist was considered to come from a small group of Paris Opera Ballet insiders, including the star dancers, or étoiles, Nicolas Le Riche, due to retire in 2014, and Laurent Hilaire, a ballet master with the company and Ms. Lefèvre's right-hand man," writes Roslyn Sulcas in theNew York Times.
Millepied is a prolific choreographer, well-known for his work in the movie "Black Swan." He has created pieces for New York City Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Mikhail Baryshnikov, the Mariinsky Ballet, Geneva Opera Ballet, the Lyon Opera Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet. He also is a founder and choreographer of the L.A. Dance Project, which Millepied says he will continue to run until his tenure with the Paris Opera begins in Autumn of 2014.
"To be polite, we call ourselves 'one of' the best companies in the world. We are the bestcompany in the world," said general director Nicolas Joel at a press conference at the Palais Garnier announcing the decision.
How does Millepied respond? Click here to read the rest of this story.