Ben Leaving Paris Ballet

By February 3, 2016Nat-news

Well that didn’t last long. Benjamin has only been with the Paris Ballet for a little over a year but that is now coming to an end. A press conference tomorrow will formally announce his departure and one can only wonder if this means that the family might head back to the states. For what it is worth, I’ve heard that it is indeed Ben’s frustration with the slow administrative side of the Paris Ballet than, as has already been suggested, Natalie wanting to return home.

Via translation…

The establishment was recently added, because his name boosted sales. And because Benjamin Millepied like to create for the dancers of the company and provides plenty of do it next season.

It could also remain as resident choreographer after the break, while defending the idea of ​​bringing major dance companies in the twenty-first century. His departure would weaken the turbulent reign of Stéphane Lissner. For the French dancer and choreographer of the New York City Ballet star and husband of actress Natalie Portman, has given to the opera glamor, talent and patrons. Never gala has reported as much as that given for the opening of Ballet in September. Neither has any dance director has managed to allocate this money to ballet. As for the number of creations in the program, we went from two to ten per year.


Author Dazza

More posts by Dazza

Join the discussion 34 Comments

  • Nina says:

    That’s a shame! He was doing really interesting things at the Paris ballet. I liked that he was trying to get rid of the hierarchy of the ballet and promote diversity. From what I understand his tenor only officially started in September last year. I’m surprised he gave up so quickly. There must have been big problems.

  • Juan234 says:

    Suppose he was fired. I might expect someone from Natalie’s camp (her publicist maybe?) to leak a bureaucracy rumor. Perhaps more will come out.

  • Na says:

    France it is a crazy country , very old they do not like to progress they hate progress it is good for him to leave because it is a dangerous country and french people with their strange mentality i m sure it was hard for them in france peaple are si proud of them too much in france ! Old people old country crazy country

    • Aurore L. says:

      I’m sorry but have you already lived in France to judge like this ? I do not know where you come from but I will not permit to judge it if I never been there. I’m French and I critize a lot my country, I could not be more agree when they speak about the slow administration. But what you say “crazy country, dangerous country…” it’s just a bunch of clichés and completely subjectives.

  • Antienne says:

    “For what it is worth, I’ve heard that it is indeed Ben’s frustration with the slow administrative side of the Paris Ballet”

    If it’s true it’s the most ridiculous and childish reason to leave a job i’ve ever seen. It’s look like a diva tantrum in a restaurant. “” I leave this place because i’m not servicing quick enough “”

    From the french governement, to the administration of the Paris Opera Ballet, everyone is licking Mr Millepied feet’s here, remember he got one of the most prestigious job in the ballet world, with no experiences, just because he married a celeb, and the administration want him bring some glamour and mecene cash to Opera. He benefit a loooooooot of privilege, and can litterally do everything he want to do, he and his family, leave under a heavy protection, paid by French people Taxes.

    No one will leave such a job, with such amount of money (He’s paid more than the Paris Opera Ballet director, who is paid 100k€/month) for such a ridiculous reason. Sorry i don’t give a shit. It is more likely that he left Paris for personal reasons, that’s mean family reason. ButBut it would be politically incorrect, for the Portman/Millepied and the French Administration/Governement, to admit that Natalie wants to leave France and did not feel safe here. So they give us that cliché excuse like “the slow administration frustating me”

  • Stanley says:

    There is more than enough ballet schools in the states in L.A….. At least one for sure, an ex girlfriend wanted me to go to with her, in Boston. He could open his own school maybe. It would be safer for their whole family here in the states. I wish them the best of luck! Gotta get some cob webs out my head and work on breaking my leg. So exciting, to hopefully have them back in the U.S.

  • Belerofonte says:

    let’s see; for now the reasons for his departure are rumors in the press. Today at three o’clock there is a press conference. There will know something more concrete…

    Anyway, if it’s true he left, I do not think that occurs before the summer. The program for the coming months will be announced next week and I guess he will follow the command of ballet during this period.

  • Nina says:

    The position of director of ballet at the Paris opera is probably the best job he will ever get offered. Apparently people didn’t like his criticism of the company. I don’t think Natalie played a part. She seemed to be adjusting to French life even making a French film and Jackie in France. There must have been problems internally.

  • Antienne says:

    Sorry i don’t agree with you guy’s, Millepied attitude is gross. In December a Documentary was made about him. I tought the man was more focus on promoting himself, than directing a ballet company. He made negative comments about everything and everyone. Year’s before he launch a race row about the diversity of the company. But, his own company, LA Dance Project, have NO diversity at the time.

    Paris Opera Ballet has faults like all great cultural institutions , but nothing that deserves such scorn that expressed by Mr Millepied. His role was to defend it , he just damaging it . You can’t direct a company and spent your time to critics it in the press like he do. Brigitte Lefèvre was director of the dance for 20 years. In 20 years, there was no such problems. This the limit of Hollywood casting. If you want a star in your project, you have a star disorder personnality problems.

    If Mr Millepied want to direct the POB like his LA Dance Project. With no one to confront him. That’s just prove he’s just too immature for the job. He will not do that if it was ABT, or NYC Ballet, or SF Ballet. For me this story is false . He just wants to leave Paris and invents problems to justify his departure.

    • Dazza says:

      How can you criticize someone for quitting a job? If he feels that he isn’t enjoying it because of the slow moving bureaucracy or whatever his issues are, then who is anyone to say he should stay in the job just because it’s prestigious? That makes no sense to me.

      • Antienne says:

        WHAT ? Who the hell are you for saying what i can say or not ? What is your problem ?

        Plus i don’t criticize him for quitting, but for the pathetic and egomaniac attitude. The man is ungrateful. They give him a big opportunity. They give him full liberty to do everything he want to do. It was not enough, he want more. More what ?

        He made shocking and unfair sentence about the company and the ballet dancers under his leadership. That was just gross and unprofessional. How can you work with someone who made negative comments everywhere about your work. Is that the way to promote a company ? Do you see a CEO bitching about his own company in the press ?

        And suggesting it’s the slow administration who push you to quit. Please. It is you and only you. You are unable to manage a company and just want to promote yourself. That’s the problem with Millepied, he’s egotic. Before, there was a doubt about it. Now it’s proved. He’s just a Ballet K-Fed. A gold digger and social climber.

        Karl Paquette a Principal in the POB, say this morning in “Le Monde” : “I was shocked by this devastating article (AN interview he made to “Le Figaro where he mock the company), by Millepied disrespect to the company he completely denigrates.

        And now he desert. Merci et aurevoir. He’s a douche, and no matter what you think, i have the right to say it.

        • Dazza says:

          You have a right to criticize someone for their choice to leave a job and I have the right to say that I think that line of thinking is stupid because a) you don’t know anything (none of us do) and b) IT’S HIS LIFE. If I quit a job and someone I barely knew told me I shouldn’t have done that I’d look at them like they were crazy.

          The K-Fed comparison is ridiculous. The Paris Ballet is surely the HEIGHT of his profession. For him to leave makes me think either a) it’s just not a good fit and b) he must care more about the art of creation, that he clearly feels is being stifled.

          I haven’t seen him mocking the company but if true I’d agree that it seems in poor taste, even if he feels aggrieved, even if he feels promises weren’t kept.

          I will also agree that when it comes to his work he may have a very big ego, but this isn’t uncommon in people who are incredibly accomplished in their work. More than likely his employers had equally large egos and that’s probably where the inability to find a solution came in.

          But the K-Fed dramatics and thinking you know his life better than he does…there you’ve seriously lost the plot.

          • Antienne says:

            I maybe don’t speak a good english but I think this quote was clear : “i don’t criticize him for quitting, but for the pathetic and egomaniac attitude.” that’s mean for his comments, like you just doing with my comments.

            That’s is just your typical ad hominem argument. Talk about me and my comments for not facing the problem I want to talk. Just because I made comment you don’t like means they are stupid. But if you think that, you are really stupid. Because all your life you will face people who don’t agree with you. And if you think they all stupi becasue they don’t agree whith you. YES YOU ARE STUPID.

            Yes i’m rude. And yes my comments about ballet K-Fed are rude. But i’m not ruling a 130 ballet dancers company like Mr Millepied do. I’m not bitching in public, press, media about the company and the dancers i suppose to promote and lead, like he do. I’m not leaving the job after 12 months, damaging the image of this company like he do. THIS IS WHAT I CALL RUDE.

            I know it’s your job on earth to do the White Knight of Natalie’s domain. But, no, when we give you the reponsability of a company. Not only a ballet company. But any kind of company. Your attitude, your words count. It is also the life of the company. NOT JUST YOUR LIFE. You lead a company, you can’t piss on people head. If you don’t agree with that. Boy go back to mummy home and don’t ask any kind of public responsability.

            You have to respect the people who works for the company under your leadership. And Millepied has no respect for the people he work with, and the company he work for. So i’m glad he quit. Now go back to live in your privileged egotical world. We are sorry if our old country in crisis with 9 000 000 people living in povrety, is not fit for your ass.

            Aurevoir et on se rappel pas.

          • Dazza says:

            Fair enough point, you didn’t criticize him leaving.

            If it’s purely what he has said about the company that makes you so upset then please let’s see these horrible comments. I am completely unaware of them. I’m really curious to see these statements that slammed the company and the dancers.

          • Dazza says:

            Okay, I decided to check in with two of my friends who are connected to this world. If you go to our forums you’ll see that I knew about this story before it broke and that’s because both friends told me in advance.

            So I’ve asked them for more info because before, frankly, I didn’t care all that much. I have no interest in the ballet world and even less interest in the profession of Natalie’s husband.

            I was told that his announcement was very respectful and gracious. I was told that he hasn’t really been mouthing off to the press and that the only major pearl clutching was due to comments in the documentary. Dancers had also spoken to the press about not liking his style, him not being around enough and him offering important roles to less established dancers. So I guess they were equally disrespectful to him?

            As my friend put it, both sides thought it would be a great appointment but even though great work was produced, it just was a bad match. Benjamin is an artist and he wants to mainly create, but in the Paris Ballet he was needed to be more of a manager, which isn’t what he’s good at and isn’t what he wants to be focusing on.

            It’s clear Benjamin tried to change the culture of the opera. He told them that they are told by everyone that they are the best, but he believed they can be better. This reminds me of football/soccer managers/coaches and I think it’s a better comparison than the corporate world connections you made, Antienne. In the sports world coaches will speak out against the club and their bosses. They will even speak out about their players, in a bid to motivate them. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. You often see managers in charge of a team of superstars and he tries to get them to be better but they are too comfortable with their power and success and don’t want to change.

            It’s a battle of willpower, influence and some ego. It comes from all sides though.

            I suspect Ben’s situation wasn’t far different but the main point is this – he wants to create. At Paris Ballet he wasn’t able to do that. I don’t know the guy but I appreciate him chasing his artistic drive more than that of prestige and money. If you feel the opposite, so be it.

  • Aurore L. says:

    I read several articles about its potential leaving. And for me it is cleared, even if he is French, he spend now more years in the Us, he used to the US manner to work. And US Ballet and French Ballet are really different, he have been confront to problems that a lot of expatriates have to confront when you arrive in a foreign country. Natalie speaks very well about it by the way. The intercultural matters when you arrive in a new company in a foreign country is a big deal what we often forget. The slow administrative is one point but there is tons of others that can explain, he does not find its place at the Opera. It is just really difficult to fit as such a French institution like the Opera where as you become so much americans after years there.

  • Na says:

    Try to leave in france one month and you will want to live very fastb…. French people so orgueuilleux!!! It is very dangerous in france and i think it is not possible to be really happy in france because france is a boat who go down… The mentality of french people and the mentality in usa so different i really think they together was really not happy in france and people in the opera are rigid and old mentality france di not love progress in anything they are old in their head and do not like americain people they are in competition all the time they think they are the only country in the world ( any french speak good english) it is better for them . I think . And i start to heard that french people said that nathalie is more important more ” epaisse ” in his personaly because now she leaves in france they start to stay that natalie is what she is now thanks to france!! They are crazy !!! I heard this here: they are crazy!!!! Natali is what she is and it is not thanks to france!!! So orgueuilleux!!

    • Aurore L. says:

      I lived there all my life, I’m French … so I know what I speak about. The way you speak is just really rude, I’m not shock by others comments like Adanis but yours are just direspectful. I could speak a lot about the USA, Donald Trump, the gun permit, black people killing by white policemen with no reasons, for me it’s neither progress either a safe country. You are judging things that you do not know, you just repeat the stupid things you heard on CNN or Fow news.

      • Na says:

        Je suis francaise !!!! I am french !!! Je sais de quoi je parle sunon je n aurais js ecrit ca!!! I know about what i write because i am french !!!! Why i will wrote something like that if i did not knew what is the real mentality in france!! Je suus francaise ne a perigueux en dordogne !! Ya pas plus francais que ca !! J assume a 100 pour cent tous ce que jai ecrit!!! Et je ne regarde pas cette chaine pourrie de cnn qui ne raconte que des conneries surtt sur le moyen orient dc ne juge pas sans savoir c est mon avis sur la france et je le repete LA FEANCE EST UN BATEAU QUI COULE ! France is a boat who go down down down deeply… It is difficult to say the true in france they do not like the true

        • Aurore says:

          Je ne comprends pas pourquoi tu parles de la France ainsi alors sans aucune nuance dans ton propos, comme si tu n’y avais jamais vécu. Dire que l’Opéra est une institution vieillissante qui refuse le progrès et qui est orgueilleuse, oui je veux bien , et je le pense même à 200% mais comment peut dire ça sur toute la France ?! Tout n’est pas noir ou blanc dans le monde, et en France non plus. Déjà tu es en train de dire que toi aussi tu es vieille, tu refuse le progrès et tu es super orgueilleuse et tu es en train aussi de dire que je le suis mais aussi, tous les entrepreneurs qui cherche chaque jour justement à créer des choses innovantes, à travailler dans un monde mondialisé sans orgueil.

  • Herz says:

    @Antienne: “everyone is licking Mr Millepied feet’s here”: that is simply not true. Millepied never got any political support and no one to back him when he tried to make big changes. When Noureev got the job, he faced the same problems, but had Jack Lang’s (ministry of culture at the time) support. Millepied is an artist and wasn’t interested in shaking the right hands.
    I agree with your other message, though (where you mention the December documentary), and I believe that if he’s leaving, it has to do with internal problems of the Opera (let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a can of worms impossible to reform) and also the fact that he was probably not made for the job.

    @Aurore: “he have been confront to problems that a lot of expatriates have to confront when you arrive in a foreign country.”
    Well, he wasn’t arriving in a foreign country: he’s French…

    • Aurore L. says:

      Oui, je sais je me suis peut être mal exprimé en anglais. Ce que je voulais dire c’est qu’il est parti à 15 ans de la France, il a vécu plus de temps en France qu’au Etats-unis, et donc il a beau être français, sa culture ne l’ai plus. Il suffit de lire des récits de personnes qui ont vécu pendant 20 ans au USA, le retour est très difficile pour les expatriés car ils ne sont plus habitués au code de leur société d’origine, ils ont intégré ceux de leur nouveau pays.

  • Herz says:

    @Na: I don’t know what’s your native tongue, but you totally misunderstood the “épaisseur” thing.
    The quote you are mentioning is about Benjamin, not Natalie. They say: “She’s the spouse of someone (Ben) who represents French excellence |in ballet] and she gives him a glamour side” (“cette épaisseur glamour”).

  • Adonis says:

    Back in the States? That would be the best option. Will Natalie leave Paris, I do not know? My opinion far away from France … too dangerous the religious war in France – Paris become. I am talking about a fact which is unfortunately very real in France. Please do not take personally, was already two times in Paris … really a great city ..

  • ll says:

    here we go again france is so dangerous france is so this and that it happened two times bla bla. Do you really think that’s what we need right now? Don’t take it personally of course im taking it personally cause im french from paris from the area where the attacks where. So when i hear stuff like that im not happy i’ve lived in the usa and i’ve got familly there but when the 5/11 hapened one french people said things like that we were choced and try to preserve the people by watching our mouth. We are might “orgueuilleux but not pretencious.

  • Lee Bartholomew says:

    France isn’t exactly safe right now and the country seems to be headed to the right suddenly 🙁 But wasn’t sure how that would play out. France of course was the setting for the movie Taken so they aren’t exactly in the up and up. however I love their movies.

  • Herz says:

    Wow, don’t worry all, France is not a war zone and even if it was, Benjamin and Natalie live in a totally different world. No chance they were having a beer at the bars where the November attacks happened 😉

  • Antienne says:


    In this Operagate, we only have the Benjamin point of view. And the majpority of the french press take his side. That he was too modern, for this too old company and his military hierarchy, who don’t want any kind of change, (Pure Lie) Sorry if it’s outrageous to you I heard a totally different kind of story. And sorry to don’t have a forum to prove it.

    He had the full support of everyone. The only thing the company reproch to him was bitching in the press, ( no one tell him anything for that. They shut their mouth. And weeks later, he do that again in a documentary all about is glory (La Relève).

    After that, he loose the confidence of the dancers of the company.
    A dancer say to Lissner a director of the Opera : “At the end of a show, Millepied tells us we’re great and then he spits at us in the press … we expect the opposite. We are ready to hear criticism , but in front of the press he must defend his company”

    So yes he can be graceful and kind after damaging the image of the POB. At least. The only balanced article I read is here :

    Josua Hoffalt (A dancer of the POB) say : “He has not kept his promises

    Moreover, he announced so much in the press before taking office: his desire to promote in-house talent to develop projects outside … But it is clear that a year later, the results are not there.

    Personally, I conducted two projects outside the Opera, including a show that just plays with dancers of our institution. I have asked Benjamin Millepied, but he never came. And I’m not alone in this case. He said there is no “House” choreographer, but Samuel Murez, who is also a dancer at the Opera, made choreographies for 10 years successfully and he is never moved to see his work. Same thing when I launched a clothing line in the same shop of the Opera, with a dancer from the house.

    I am elected to the administrative council of the Opera of Paris, I was able to see about all the great choreographers of the twentieth century by citing only the Americans, without referring to Roland Petit and Maurice Béjart. It is a violation of our history.

    It is clear that over time, the disagreement was growing and there was a gap between promises and reality. Projects he had. For him only.

    He leaves us in an even greater crisis

    Beyond his incompatibility with the teams , there was a problem to me skills and management. We felt he had no desire to manage us , that was also part of his duties.

    Today, his statement makes me chuckle . He would have assumed his responsibility, ” with the sole objective innovation in the institution’s radiation service and the development of the dancers ?” For me , this is the record that I will keep this year passed under his direction : a lack of generosity , a certain absence for us and , conversely , a strong presence in the media, few content and projects for company.

    In the end, he leaves the Paris Opera in a greater crisis than the one we have known from Brigitte Lefèvre, its former director.”

    Brigitte Lefèvre the former director, and Aurélie Dupont, his successor, have made good interview where they give true respect to Mr Millepied, and the company. That’s real class.

    It was a miscast. A mediatic coup by Lissner. But don’t give me that trope he don’t have any support. He was greating like King David. The hierarchy follow his lead, no one made any kind of obstruction. It’s a pure mediatic lie. The only problem was Millepied egotic personnality. He had poor managerial skills. And blame the Opera for that.

    End of the story. Go home kid.

  • Elin says:

    Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a heated discussion in the comment section. I do agree that it’s not our place to judge Ben for leaving the company: if it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit. The right thing to do in that case is to acknowledge that and move on. No sense in staying if it’s not working for both parties.

    I’m curious to see where he’ll go next.

    As for safety in France, it’s no more dangerous than the countries you’re all living in. Whatever happens, happens. No use getting anxious over it.

  • Cédric42 says:

    pourquoi Benjamin quitte l’Opéra de Paris et que le couple Portman/Millepieds retourne aux USA ? peut être parce que Natalie ne se sent plus en sécurité en France malgré son amour pour ce pays. Les événements dramatique qu’ont eu lieu en France en 2015 (attentats du 7 Janvier, attentats du 13 Novembre, ajoutés à cela une forte montée de l’antisémitisme. Natalie a du avoir peur, pour elle, pour Aleph et à du pousser Benjamin à démissionné, ce n’est que mon avis personnel.