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'Black Swan' Choreographer Stages Land Art Ballet

And there's only one way to see it.

by Kara Weisenstein
May 26 2017, 8:58pm

Credit: Rose Eichenbaum

Seeing ballet implies buying an expensive ticket, schlepping to a fancy theater, and sitting in the dark with strangers, while willowy ballerinas twirl en pointe on stage. But Benjamin Millepied, famous for choreographing Black Swan, is on a mission to change that. His company, L.A. Dance Project, is known for staging world-class performances in non-traditional environments, and this weekend, the company is in residence in Marfa, TX, where they'll dance amidst large-scale and land art at The Chinati Foundation, the contemporary art museum founded by Donald Judd.

Curious spectators don't need to journey to Marfa to check out the sprawling performance, however. The only way to watch Millepied's site-specific Marfa ballet is by streaming the performance live on Periscope on Saturday, May 27, Sunday, May28, and Monday, May 29 at 2PM CT each day.

Credit: Rose Eichenbaum

"It's annoying how mythical this space is in Marfa and how hard it is to get to," Millepied admits to Creators. The choreographer believes technology can democratize art appreciation for audiences who aren't equipped to regularly visit creative meccas. "This idea that dance has to happen in theaters, in a celebratory space, has been around for a very long time, but the world can be a venue. People are more on the street than they are in the theaters. It taps into a whole new audience," he says.

Millepied is no stranger to choreographing for the camera, but advances in technology have made it vastly easier for institutions to livestream performances on platforms like Periscope. The Marfa performance will be split into numerous episodes, each focusing on a particular work by artists including Judd, John Adams, Michael Galasso, Charles Ives, David Lang, Caroline Shaw, and Steve Reich. "[The camera] is going to add a whole other element: there are things you can hide, things you can make small, and how does the architecture come into it?" Millepied explains.

"It's something I think will be part of what we do in the future, especially with these remote, interesting architectural spaces, where you can't necessarily get an audience to, but you can get an audience worldwide digitally," he says.

Credit: Rose Eichenbaum

Tune in at 2PM CT each day this weekend to watch the Marfa Dance episodes on Periscope.

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