From the best of European ballet to Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project – an interview with Axel Ibot and Patricia Zhou

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L.A. Dance Project in Justin Peck’s ‘Murder Ballads’. Photograph: Rose Eichenbaum

American Patricia Zhou and Axel Ibot, who is French, both have very classical backgrounds. The former has danced with the Royal Ballet and the Staatsballett-Berlin, and the latter was “Sujet” in the Paris Opera Ballet before he left to join Benjamin Millepied – French choreographer, ex-director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and founder of the L.A. Dance Project – in Los Angeles.

I wondered what edged them both towards this new beginning in a smaller-sized contemporary company. Continue reading

Artistry at its best – Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project review

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L.A. Dance Project in Benjamin Millepied’s ‘On the Other Side’. Photograph: Laurent Philippe

Last week, Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project performed three pieces from their repertoire, including Millepied’s brand new creation ‘Bach studies part 1’.

The evening began with Justin Peck’s ‘Murder Ballads’. The curtain opened to six pairs of shoes set out neatly across the stage, ready for the dancers, dressed in typical street wear, to run onstage and put them on. This began a series of cleverly used exits and re-entries through the wings, setting a fast pace, with lots happening simultaneously. Continue reading

An interview with Nathan Makolandra from L.A. Dance Project

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Nathan Makolandra – copyright Morgan Lugo

After the show, I had the chance to interview Nathan Makolandra, who has been dancing with the L.A. Dance Project since it began in 2012.

I asked him how he got into the company. “I was a senior at Juilliard, and Benjamin [Millepied] had done some work with seniors the previous year”, he told me. “He was going to be starting this [LADP] company, so he called the director and said he’d like to come and look at the current batch of seniors. After auditions at Juilliard, he asked me to join what would be the L.A. Dance Project. It’s been over four years now, and it’s been cazy!” Continue reading