Benjamin Millepied created “Daphnis et Chloé” for the State Ballet. But he cannot leave the USA. The BZ explains why.
It was not because of the second pregnancy of his wife Natalie Portman (35), assures Benjamin Millepied (39).
Nevertheless, the Frenchman, known for his choreography for the film “Black Swan”, could not come to his premiere of “Daphnis et Chloé” in Berlin. Millepied first brought out the piece, which will run again at the Deutsche Oper on Saturday, in Paris, where he was briefly ballet director. He gave up the job after a year and a half.
Mr. Millepied, why couldn’t you come to Berlin?
Unfortunately, I can’t leave the United States, I lost my green card, it’s very annoying. When I leave, I cannot go back and simply enter with a tourist visa.
Doesn’t it help that you are married to an American like Natalie Portman?
Not right away, my dual citizenship application is pending, but I’m still waiting for it. So I’m hanging something in the air, that’s very inconvenient, I would have really liked to come to Berlin.
What prompted you to choreograph “Daphnis et Chloé”?
I read the score and studied the history of ballet, which is closely related to France. Michel Fokine created it in 1912 for the Ballets Russes in Paris, but had little success with it. Fokine was very disappointed at the time. The music is beautiful, also very complex. Then there is the story of a pure and beautiful love.
How did you design the movements? Through improvisation or recording?
I wrote the piece throughout, very much like a composer who puts his notes on paper. And of course the dancers inspire me, along with the music. An absolutely fulfilling job. Doing a ballet is like a drug to me!
You have already been to Berlin with your wife, do you like our city?
Definitely, I’m very interested in Berlin’s incredible history, especially in art. I’ve dealt with the Bauhaus style for a long time, I’ve been collecting things, lamps, chairs and more since the early 1990s. Bauhaus is decisive for how I approach a choreography. That was also the case in my short time in Paris.
Do you think back to Paris with bitter feelings?
No, it was the experience that I needed. It was difficult, but it had a tremendous learning effect for me. Of course, every choreographer wants to have his own significant company, to implement his own artistic vision, and I had very clear goals in mind.
And that didn’t work?
In the three years I’ve been there, I’ve realized that I can’t achieve what I want. My contract was open ended, I could have stayed there until I’m 70. But it was better for me to go back to America and start my own company in LA. It is clear to me that I want to do ballet for today.
Is it difficult for you to be married to a celebrity?
No, I am a very happy man and find my wife very inspiring. To be famous doesn’t mean anything to me, there are also many people who are successful but not famous. My wife has her career and I would have to be very old-fashioned if I had a problem with that. And our private life is on a different track anyway. Of course she is very interested in art, we exchange ideas, that is very stimulating.
Saturday 7.30 p.m., Deutsche Oper, 22–79 euros, ☎ 34 38 43 43