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Entertainment & Arts

Benjamin Millepied announces a festival celebrating the future of dance in L.A.

L.A. Dance Project will present a new festival.
L.A. Dance Project’s fall festival features 13 dance works.
(Benjamin Millepied)

For the record:
2:29 PM, Aug. 02, 2019 An earlier version of this article misspelled Evan Mast’s last name as Mask. It also listed Emily Mast as a visual artist; she is a choreographer.

L.A. Dance Project, the company launched in 2012 by former New York City Ballet principal dancer Benjamin Millepied, announced it’s launching a new festival this fall featuring six world premieres from choreographers including 2013 MacArthur fellow Kyle Abraham and Janie Taylor — plus collaborations with noted artists on sets and costumes.

L.A. Dances, a Festival of 13 Dance Works will combine contemporary and historical works. Running Sept. 26 through Nov. 24, the event will be performed at the studio on the edge of downtown that has been L.A. Dance Project’s home since 2017. Ten of the works will be new to L.A.

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With the company nearing its 10-year anniversary, “we’re really now creating a repertory of works that are very much connected to this city and community,” Millepied said. “And that’s why we’re putting on this festival.”

It’s a celebration and “commitment to dance, dance in Los Angeles and its future,” he added.

Millepied said he commissioned the work from “some of the most interesting American voices.”

One of those commissions went to Charm La’Donna, a commercial choreographer from Compton who has created dances for rapper Kendrick Lamar and Spanish pop star Rosalía. For the festival, she will be collaborating with celebrated L.A.-based, Nigerian-born painter Njideka Akunyili Crosby (a MacArthur fellow) for a piece inspired by West African movement.

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Other choreographers include the elusive Berlin-based Tino Sehgal, who describes his work as “constructed situations,” and New York-based contemporary choreographer Madeline Hollander, who recently choreographed a creepy pas de deux for Jordan Peele’s thriller “Us.”

Millepied will show two of his own works, 2014’s “Hearts and Arrows” and 2018’s “Homeward.”

The festival also features “Kinaesonata,” a 1970 work created by late L.A. modern dance pioneer Bella Lewitzky. “Kinaesonata” is one of the only pieces Lewitzky “consciously choreographed to music,” Millepied said. “It is not conventional, constantly changes patterns in an unexpected way. ... It’s just a very strong work of art, and I really wanted to revive it.”

Artists whose work will be featured in the festival include:

Choreographers:
Kyle Abraham
Shannon Gillen
Madeline Hollander
Charm La’Donna
Bella Lewitzky
Emily Mast
Benjamin Millepied

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Gianna Reisen
Tino Sehgal
Janie Taylor
Zack Winokur

Composers:
Evan Mast
Celia Hollander

Visual Artists:
Benjamin Ball
James Buckhouse
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Charles Gaines
Liam Gillick

Updates:
3:54 PM, Sep. 13, 2019: This article was updated to remove Jacob Jonas from the list of choreographers presenting world premieres.

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