Shot in a crisp and bright monochrome, French choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied presents here a section of a new co-production with Royal Ballet Flanders and performed by L.A. Dance Project—the cutting-edge initiative he founded in 2011, before handing over the reigns to become director of dance for the Paris Opera Ballet. Returning to work with his LA brain-child, Millepied revealed to us the conceptual and technical processes behind this startling new work, which uses a tonally rich score from German baroque composer J.S. Bach:
“Bach’s compositions have managed to transcend time. His music touches at the deepest parts of us without being purposefully melancholic or romantic. Its architecture is some of the most complex in music history. The choreography, which responds to the music, is meant to be cohesive with the score, to further reveal its inner voice—to run with it, display the complexity, and sometimes let it breathe.
“While at times I follow the melodic line with a single voice, at other times the group’s dancing is meant to reveal the symphonic sound the violin alone achieves. In those moments I used rules of counterpoint; where a theme phrase becomes twisted, reversed, transformed, and the phrases meet and join in unexpected places. The dance aims to capture the atmosphere, the temperature, and the energy the sounds generate. It’s not just a visualization of the score I attempt, but a marriage—and one where time will hopefully continue to reveal new aspects of the work.”