"So You Think You Can Dance" received a modest dose of high-culture class on Wednesday in the form of Benjamin Millepied, who served as a guest judge for the Fox reality-competition series.
The choreographer's recently launched group, L.A. Dance Project, performed a new number at the end of Wednesday's broadcast -- a level of national exposure that is out of reach for most fledgling dance troupes.
Millepied, who is married to actress Natalie Portman, is a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and has choreographed for some of the world's top ballet companies. Among his credits is the movie "Black Swan," in which he appeared with Portman.
It clearly pays to be famous, or at least married to someone who is famous. On Wednesday, Millepied sat with fellow judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, taking turns offering anodyne comments on the season's remaining 10 contestants. (The show might consider putting a moratorium on the words "amazing" and "passion.")
At times, Millepied looked a little bewildered amid the show's nonstop assault of sequins and forced good cheer -- but who wouldn't be? The Frenchman's appearance on "SYTYCD" is likely the work of Lythgoe, the show's executive producer, who sits on the board of the Music Center, which has helped to launch L.A. Dance Project.
Near the end of Wednesday's show, several dancers from L.A. Dance Project performed Millepied's new piece, titled "Moving Parts," set to a composition by Nico Muhly. The piece seemed tame and somewhat out of place next to the athletic gyrating that is apparently required of the show's contestants.
But what do you want from free publicity?
"Moving Parts" will be one of the numbers performed by L.A. Dance Project at its big debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Sept. 22 and 23.