10 years ago, revolutionary choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker, Benjamin Millepied actualized a lifelong dream, and L.A. Dance Project was born. In the past decadeas put on hundreds of performances worldwide, pushed the boundaries of traditional performance, and given space for a whole new generation of dancers to explore and thrive. It’s a very special thing. On October 29, L.A. Dance Project celebrated this anniversary with a gala under the starry skies of Beverly Hills at the Pritzker residence, where everything feels a bit slower, and life, art, and dance can be more surely felt. Between cocktails and dinner, and the gala’s first ever after hours dance party, the most special part of the evening took place: 3 excerpts from performances, including Pillar I, from Millepied’s new work Be Here Now set to music by Andy Akiho, Quartet for Five by Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, and lastly, the Balcony Scene in the American debut of Romeo & Juliet Suite by Millepied, which premiered at the La Seine Musicale in France last month to critical acclaim and several sold out nights. And, perhaps the pièce de résistance: a performance by students from LADP’s Summer Dance Intensive, in partnership with Everybody Dance LA! This intensive sees students from LA’s economically low-resourced communities receive two weeks of world-class dance training. Nothing compared to see the smile on these students’ faces.
Also within the evening, The Van Cleef & Arpels Fund for L.A. Dance Project was announced, which will be committed to supporting artist residencies, commissions, engagements, and programming for the next four years. It is among the largest single contributions to LADP, and marks Van Cleef & Arpels’ support for LADP since its inception in 2012.
“The establishment of The Van Cleef & Arpels Fund for L.A. Dance Project is a transformative gift, and will further deepen our engagement with audiences here in Los Angeles while also allowing us to continue expanding our reach internationally,” Benjamin Millepied said.
The fund will go toward commissioning works in 2023 like Millepied’s Unstill Life, a new piece from Jamar Roberts (Resident Choreographer of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), and providing residencies for underrepresented, emerging artists through their artist residency program LAUNCH:LA.
Aside from the $1.5 million contribution from Van Cleef & Arpels, LA Dance Project raised almost $1 million. The evening included performances and music, and gala attendees included people from all creative industries, like actresses Alia Shawkat and Alicia Silverstone, fashion figures Dree Hemingway and Sara Sampaio, and art and design notables Louise Bonnet and Ron Finley.
“For a decade L.A. Dance Project has inspired us all with pioneering, high-quality work,” said Nicolas Bos, president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels. “Benjamin’s vision is rooted in collaboration evidenced by the interdisciplinary nature of the performances and Van Cleef & Arpels is proud to be part of such an esteemed partnership and collaboration rooted in mutual respect, artistry, trust, and admiration.”