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January 24, 2013

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As the interwebs put it so eloquently: wut.

I am surprised that he was in the running. I thought they would choose one of their own.

Also, I don't think the POB dancers need Millepied and Portman to glam things up. They're *French*. :)

lol. I suspect that POB expects Ben to last two years, possibly, and they've already arranged his replacement - from the inside. He can hardly supervise the classics since he's never danced them, and no one is going to listen to him if he tries to correct or assist in them (why should they). It'll be "hands off" the classics which will be handled quietly by insiders including the next director, and he will be engaged in building the contemporary and eclectic rep. Two years -- at the most. Just my speculation.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Dance Project of his, launched with much hype, a large funding influx and a dud first program, gets stiffed. He's made noises about overseeing it after he goes to Paris blah blah blah but he was the selling point. Of course, since the troupe has done only one program here and has the rest of their time scheduled to be on tour, it doesn't matter anyway.

I think if I hear one more outsider, like Mr. Millepied, babble on about "the vibrant mix of cultures in Los Angeles, I'm so excited to explore Latino culture for example", I'll scream.

Hi Henry. Ben's casual charisma has taken him a long way, that's for sure. Sorry to hear that the L.A. Dance Project was a bust, but I can't say I'm surprised.

hi haglund! yes, i saw POB do giselle when i was in singapore, it was benjamin pech and laetitia pujol. it was AMAZING. no way ben milepied can even improve on that! plus, it wasn't just the two of them. the corps was pretty awesome!! sadly didn't get to catch any POB performance when i actually visited paris!

Michael! Great to hear from you.

Yeah, I think Ben probably knows that he shouldn't mess with their classics. It is going to be interesting to watch.

Haglund I'm baffled, what are his credentials? His LA Dance project with 6 dancers founded last year is hardly management experience compared with POB with its more than 150 dancers, he never danced classics so on what knowledge is he going to choose which classics to display during the season? Beside that as the director of dance he is going to be one of the judge during internal competition for dancers to move up the rank, usually there will be one mandatory variation (classic) and one free variation, how the dancers will be convinced with his judgement when they know he only danced neoclassical ballet in NYCB? This job should be with insider IMO or someone who actually familiar with classical dance.

Hi Al.

I don't think Ben will have a problem serving as a judge at the POB's annual Concours de Promotion; afterall, he WAS a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. [Small joke.]

When asked by the press about the length of his contract, Ben said it was open ended. It may also have some open ended sentences that will be written at a later date.

You're right, it is all baffling, because he has no credentials other than, apparently, an appetite for experimental choreography and a pretty wife - the last being important in France.

There is a long time for both Ben and POB to rethink this arrangement, and its open-endedness suggests that it could change. We'll just have to wait and see. I'm so happy that I got to see POB before this happened.

He has already shown a willingness to deny or lessen an actual dancer's achievements in order to ingratiate himself to his annoying wife and to powerful Hollywood types. He has no managerial experience but also more importantly has not demonstrated interest in classical works even as he has no experience in that genre as a dancer.

Very disappointed and hoping the tenure would be a brief one.

Hi Genna. All true. Clearly the French are making a solitary commitment to building the contemporary rep while expecting the high standards of the classics to take care of themselves. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. There's not another ballet company on earth that could say its classic tradition is strong enough to do that.

Ben will probably be there a very short time. You know, Natalie will suddenly get a big Hollywood or Broadway opportunity, and they will "have" to leave Paris -- or so the story might go.

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