Benjamin Millepied finds home for L.A. Dance Project in downtown

Benjamin Millepied and Natalie Portman at New York City Ballet's 2012 Spring Gala performance in New York, in May.
(Amanda Schwab / Associated Press)

L.A. Dance Project, the new collective founded by Benjamin Millepied, has found a home in downtown. The fledgling group has established a full-time residence at Los Angeles Theatre Center, on Spring Street near 5th Street.

The dance collective will present new works throughout the city. Millepied, a former principal at New York City Ballet and the fiancé of actress Natalie Portman, has partnered with composer Nico Muhly, producer Charles Fabius and others to launch the group, with financial help from the Los Angeles Music Center.

L.A. Dance Project will present a new, site-specific piece at the Museum of Contemporary Art later this month. It also will perform as part of Dance at the Music Center’s new season, Sept. 22-23 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The L.A. Theatre Center is owned by the city and is operated by the Latino Theater Company. In January, the City Council voted to terminate the theater company’s lease, as well as the lease for the Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture. Both organizations had been leasing from the city since 2006.


But José Luis Valenzuela, the artistic director of the Latino Theater Company, said Thursday that his company is still residing in the building and that it is working with the city to update the lease. He said a new agreement is expected in about two months’ time.

Valenzuela said L.A. Dance Project occupies an office as well as a dance studio in the building. The dance organization’s residency agreement is for at least two years, he said.

The Latino Museum has vacated the building, pursuant to the January termination notice. The museum had been engaged with the Latino Theater Company in a protracted legal battle involving lease payments.


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