RE­SET, doc­u­men­tary, not rated, Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts,

Pasatiempo - - MOVING IMAGES - Re­set Black Swan Bal­let 422 Re­set Black Swan, Bal­let 422 Paz de la Jolla.

This is a story of a world pre­miere — a 33-minute bal­let cre­ated for 16 young dancers se­lected from the 154 mem­bers of the Paris Opera’s bal­let com­pany. But the doc­u­men­tary is also the story of the com­pany’s di­rec­tor of dance, Ben­jamin Millepied. Millepied was born in Bordeaux, where he first stud­ied dance, and con­tin­ued his train­ing in Lyon; he moved to the U.S. on a schol­ar­ship to the School of Amer­i­can Bal­let, the of­fi­cial school of New York City Bal­let, in the early 1990s. He joined City Bal­let, ris­ing to the rank of prin­ci­pal, chore­ograph­ing works for the com­pany (and other en­sem­bles) and re­mained there for 16 years. He be­came widely known as the chore­og­ra­pher for the 2010 movie, in which he also ap­pears; the film stars Natalie Port­man, whom he later mar­ried.

Af­ter and his re­tire­ment from NYCB, Millepied set­tled with Port­man in Los An­ge­les, and started a com­pany, LA Dance Project. Then, in what was con­sid­ered big news in the dance world, he took over the pres­ti­gious po­si­tion with the Paris Opera in 2014. Re­set fol­lows the de­vel­op­ment of Millepied’s new bal­let, Clear, Loud, Bright, For­ward, with mu­sic by Nico Muhly, but also the chal­lenges and frus­tra­tions faced by Millepied in his new job with an or­ga­ni­za­tion known for its in­fight­ing and bu­reau­cracy.

Millepied shook things up at the Paris Opera dur­ing his brief ten­ure as dance di­rec­tor (he left in 2016). He cast up-and-com­ing dancers in his new bal­let, alien­at­ing many com­pany vet­er­ans. He was also de­ter­mined to end the lack of eth­nic di­ver­sity in the com­pany, and to change a cul­ture of in­se­cu­rity and fear that he said kept dancers from be­ing able to en­joy danc­ing.

Dance lovers will ap­pre­ci­ate the vir­tu­osic re­hearsal scenes dis­played through­out the film, al­though they are quick-edited and or­ga­nized as peeks, which adds im­pact and rhythm to the film but dis­ap­points ar­tis­ti­cally. Millepied is shown with ear­phones al­most per­ma­nently at­tached to his head, and a smart­phone play­ing im­ages of his dance in front of his face. Scenes with his amaz­ing mul­ti­task­ing as­sis­tant, Vir­ginia Gris (who is al­ways try­ing to track down Millepied, al­ways has pa­pers for him to sign, and al­ways has a list of the dozens of things for him to at­tend to ev­ery day) show that his at­trac­tion to chore­og­ra­phy was much stronger than his in­cli­na­tion to take care of busi­ness.

re­calls an­other re­cent bal­let doc­u­men­tary, (2014), about the twenty-some­thing New York City Bal­let dancer and chore­og­ra­pher Justin Peck and the cre­ation of a new work, Per­haps it is Peck’s youth, or the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing a corps dancer and chore­og­ra­pher and Millepied’s much heav­ier set of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a di­rec­tor, but cap­tured much bet­ter the col­lab­o­ra­tion with dancers, which is the heart of a new piece; seems to be about whether Millepied will be able to fin­ish in time.

Per­haps there will be an­other doc­u­men­tary fol­low­ing Millepied, now back in Los An­ge­les, at the helm of the LA Dance Project again. But Millepied is re­turn­ing to France — that com­pany was re­cently given a three-year-long, five-week res­i­dency in Ar­les. — Michael Wade Simpson

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.