Los Angeles, CA, (February 20, 2014) The Colburn School and L.A. Dance Project announced today The Colburn School Dance Academy at the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, which will welcome its first class of students to The Colburn School’s downtown Los Angeles campus this fall, 2014. Benjamin Millepied, Founding Director of L.A. Dance Project and incoming Director of the Paris Opera Ballet, will serve as the new program’s primary Artistic Advisor. The Colburn Dance Academy, will be directed by recently retired New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Jenifer Ringer and prepare gifted 14 to 19 year old students for multi-faceted 21st century careers in dance.
The new program will recruit talented students, with 4-5 years of classical ballet training, who aspire to a professional career in dance and also want to be educated as a complete artist. The program will accept 10 to 12 students this fall, with enrollment building to 24 students. To sign up for audition information and announcements visit: www.colburnschool.edu/danceacademy.
Sel Kardan, Colburn President and CEO said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Benjamin Millepied and his innovative L.A. Dance Project to create a comprehensive training program for aspiring young dancers. When Benjamin arrived in Los Angeles, we began conversations about how we could work together to create a training program to provide dancers with the comprehensive skills that a company such as L.A. Dance Project might require. Following his appointment as Director of Paris Opera Ballet, Benjamin demonstrated ongoing commitment to Los Angeles by continuing to develop his vision of a program where gifted young dancers will experience a tailored and holistic education.”
Carol Colburn Grigor, Chairman of The Colburn School Board stated, “It is wonderful that the Los Angeles Dance Project’s founder Benjamin Millepied will work closely with The Colburn School. Benjamin’s commitment to dance education in Los Angeles, combined with his international stature, will ensure that this new collaboration grows and flourishes. Since its beginnings, The Colburn School has had a tradition of dance and Benjamin’s involvement with our dancers will greatly enhance their careers.”
Joan Boyett and Jennifer Diener, Colburn School Trustees and Co-Chairs of the Colburn Dance Council commented, “As founders of the Colburn Dance Council, we extend our warmest welcome to Benjamin Millepied and Jenifer Ringer. This is a major development for the dance program at Colburn, and our volunteer support group will be very excited to be involved with this level of quality and the philosophy of educating the total artist. We are thrilled that students will have this opportunity.
Benjamin Millepied said, “I believe it is time to think about updating not only the training, but also the education for tomorrow’s dancers. A curriculum that takes into consideration preparing dancers for the variety of repertoire in today’s companies, but also one where education doesn’t end in the dance class. Jenifer is perfect because in addition to her generosity, incredible artistry, and her command of classical technique, she can empower students to have a strong identity not based on dance alone. By offering proper training, education, and exposing them to all of the arts LA has to offer, The Colburn Dance Academy will be providing them with the tools they will need to succeed in tomorrow’s dance world.”
Jenifer Ringer said, “We are very excited about doing something unique for an elite group of dancers. We also want to encourage students think about their lives beyond that of a dancer and to envision going beyond and becoming the artistic leaders and innovators in the field.”
She continued, “At the beginning, we are keeping this program intentionally small. The Colburn Dance Academy is a departure from other dance programs that have large numbers of students being drilled in a particular technique. Instead, we will focus on the individual artist and use a strong ballet technique as the foundation on which to develop a well-rounded dancer with distinct and individual artistic qualities. Ballet and contemporary dance are evolving faster than ever and dancers have to be prepared to work, move and express themselves in an increasing variety of ways.”
“This approach, which aligns with The Colburn School’s commitment to a tailored teaching philosophy, can be accomplished with intimate class sizes where the teacher can closely observe and guide a student’s development and growth, so these dancers achieve the highest level of excellence.” Ms. Ringer continued, “I wish I had an opportunity to attend a program like the Colburn’s when I was a teenager.”
The Colburn Dance Academy’s association with L.A. Dance Project will provide students direct access to the experience and discovery of the world of professional dance. James Fayette, Managing Director of L.A. Dance Project and a former NYCB Principal Dancer, will serve as Associate Director of the Colburn Dance Academy, and actively bridge the gap between student and professional worlds through direct participation in the studio of the professional company. Mr. Millepied, as Artistic Advisor, will offer a master class to the students and will be participating in the decision-making processes at the Academy. The Colburn Dance Academy will build strong ties with major American dance companies, with renowned dancers from the world’s leading companies serving as guest teachers and coaches.
The Colburn Dance Academy will offer a training program to develop the complete artist. In addition to a rigorous ballet training schedule that will include Pointe class, intensive studies of various styles of ballet technique, Men’s class, Variations and Partnering, there will be classes in different genres of dance, including modern, contemporary, and commercial and street dancing styles, as well as teaching units in art and music history. Visiting artists will be an integral part of the program.
The Colburn School and its internationally acclaimed music programs will provide an additional resource to The Colburn Dance Academy. Live musicians will accompany all dance classes, and the curriculum will include group piano and ear-training classes. Dancers will also have the opportunity to explore collaborations with musicians from The Colburn Conservatory of Music and Young Artists Music Academy.
The Colburn School is a world-class performing arts school located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, neighboring the Music Center and its Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Broad Museum. Its distinguished faculty provides students with the highest quality performing arts education, which includes a multitude of performance opportunities in a state-of-the-art facility. More than 2000 students attend classes in the Conservatory of Music, the Community School of Performing Arts, Young Artist Academy, Adult Studies and the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.
Trudl Zipper Dance Institute Dance has been an integral part of The Colburn School’s programming since the school’s inception in 1950. The Trudl Zipper Dance Institute (TZDI), formed in 2006, is committed to provide the highest quality dance instruction to every student, whether they are coming to experience the pure enjoyment and artistry of dynamic movement or to prepare for a professional career in dance.
Classes are offered in Ballet, Tap, Musical Theater Dance, Modern Dance, Creative Dance, Jazz Dance, special technique classes for boys, and an extensive curriculum for advanced level teens. A variety of adult programming is available as well. All levels and disciplines emphasize a solid grasp of fundamental dance techniques; strong technical, creative, and performance skills; and an understanding of the traditions and history behind each style of dance.
Benjamin Millepied Born in France, Benjamin Millepied began his dance training at the age of eight with his mother, Catherine Flori a former modern dancer. From the age of thirteen to the age of sixteen he attended the Conservatoire National de Lyon, studying with Marie France Dieulevin and Michel Rahn. In the summer of 1992, Mr. Millepied came to New York City to attend the summer program at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. The following year, he became a full-time student at the school, having received the “Bourse Lavoisier,” a scholarship award from the French Ministry. At SAB he studied with Stanley Williams and Adam Luders. In the 1994 SAB Spring Workshop, Mr. Millepied originated a principal role in Jerome Robbins’ 2 & 3 Part Inventions, set to music by J.S Bach. He was awarded the “Prix de Lausanne” the same year. In his last year at SAB, Mr. Millepied received the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise and was invited to become a member of New York City Ballet. In the spring of 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer at NYCB, where he remained until his retirement as a dancer in 2011.
With the New York City Ballet, Mr. Millepied danced a vast repertoire of works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Many original roles were also created for him by Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Angelin Preljocaj, and Mauro Bigonzetti.
Mr. Millepied started choreographing in 2001, and in 2002 he founded “Danses Concertantes”. The company gathered different dancers for each tour, and for over 8 years performed new works and ballet repertory in prestigious venues all over the world.
From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Millepied was choreographer-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. During his time at BAC, Mr. Millepied created the solo “Years Later” for Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 2007, he received the United States Artists Wynn Fellowship. In 2010, he was made Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.
Mr. Millepied’s many ballets are in the repertory of major dance companies around the world including the New York City Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the Mariinsky Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet de Geneve, the Lyon Opera Ballet, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and the Dutch National Ballet. His collaborators include composers and artists such as Nico Muhly, David Lang, Philip Glass, Christopher Wool, Barbara Kruger, Paul Cox, Rodarte, Thierry Escaich, and Santiago Calatrava.
Mr. Millepied also works in film, both as a choreographer and as a director. In 2013, Millepied founded the Amoveo Company with composer Nicholas Britell. Amoveo is an artist collective, collaborating in digital media, live events, television and film.
In 2010, Mr. Millepied choreographed and starred in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
In 2012, Mr. Millepied moved to Los Angeles, where he conceived of and founded the new dance company L.A. Dance Project. L.A. Dance Project’s mission is to promote new collaborative work by emerging and established artists, and to revisit influential multidisciplinary dance collaborations from the past. The company creates innovative platforms for contemporary dance and expands the experience of dance and dance education to audiences of all ages.
During L.A. Dance Project’s September, 2012 inaugural performances at the Los Angeles Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, the company performed Moving Parts, a collaboration between Mr. Millepied, composer Nico Muhly, and visual artist Christopher Wool. In May 2013, L.A. Dance Project presented Reflections, a new work which was the result of a collaboration between Mr. Millepied, composer David Lang, artist Barbara Kruger, and which was created with the support of the historic jewelry house Van Cleef and Arpels.
In January 2013 the Paris Opera Ballet announced Mr. Millepied’s appointment as its new Director, a role he will assume in the fall of 2014. Mr. Millepied will at the same time continue with L.A. Dance Project, overseeing, and programming the company.
Jenifer Ringer is a native of Summerville South Carolina and enjoys one of the most successful and celebrated dance careers of her generation. Promoted to principal dancer of the New York City Ballet in 2000 and dancing featured roles from almost the beginning of her 24-year career, she has performed in almost every major American city and around the world. She originated roles in new works by numerous choreographers including Jerome Robbins, Alexi Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon and Peter Martins and has performed in the world’s choreographic masterpieces including the major works of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She has also inhabited the prima ballerina roles of legendary works including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia.
In addition to her dancing career, Ms. Ringer has also taken on the role as Artistic Director. She has led the New York State Summer School for the Arts annual summer session since 2006, directed all the artistic elements of the New York City Ballet Dancer’s Choice performance at Lincoln Center in 2010 and co-hosted New York City Ballet’s Dance with the Dancers fundraising event in 2002. Also, beginning in 2009, she has presented an annual lecture demonstration and gala performance at Williams College.
In February 2013 Jenifer was appointed the Artistic Consultant for Dancing Dreams, a non-profit dance program that gives NYC/metro-area children with physical challenges a chance to dance. In this role she has had the privilege of teaching these young artists both movement and choreography and has arranged for them to attend performances at the New York City Ballet where they meet and talk with professional ballerinas. She has also successfully recruited important fundraising support for the organization.
In addition to teaching Master Classes at a variety of dance schools and institutions, Jenifer has been invited to be a regular guest teacher for company class at the New York City Ballet and in 2012 was appointed a teaching fellow at the School of American Ballet. Jenifer has also worked internationally as Assistant Répétiteur for the Jerome Robbins Foundation setting choreography at the National Ballet of Canada, Royal Danish Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.
Jenifer has been an outspoken advocate for healthy eating practices and shared publicly her struggles with and recuperation from disordered eating. She appeared on the TODAY show and Oprah to discuss these issues and the overall professional field of ballet. Her book, Dancing Through It; My Journey in the Ballet has been released through Viking Press in February 2014.
Jenifer performed principal roles in the Live From Lincoln Center Broadcasts, New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project in 2002 and Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100 in 2004 and currently appears in America Online’s city.ballet. web episodes.
She has been celebrated multiple times on the covers of Dance Magazine and Pointe Magazine and is the recipient of both the prestigious Dance Magazine Award and the Jerome Robbins Award.
Jenifer graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fordham University with a Bachelor degree in English.
James Fayette recently started as Managing Director of L.A. Dance Project. Mr. Fayette retired from New York City Ballet in 2005 at the rank of Principal dancer. Throughout James’ dancing career he was privileged to work with the greatest dancers and choreographers of that time, originating roles in Jerome Robbins’ 2 and 3 Part Invention and Brandenburg Concertos as well as in works by other choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon, Susan Stroman, Lynn Taylor-Corbett and numerous works by Peter Martins. He also established himself as an excellent partner in a number of signature roles in the New York City Ballet repertoire including Balanchine’s Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Brahms Schoenberg Quartet and Jerome Robbins’ In The Night and West Side Story Suite.
James started ballet at age 5 in his hometown of Ridgefield Connecticut. He trained in a variety of ballet styles beginning with classes that were derived from the Russian Vaganova School after which he studied Balanchine technique at the School of American Ballet from 1985 to 1990 as a full scholarship student. Furthermore, he was awarded a Danish/American exchange scholarship in 1989 to train in Bournonville technique at the Apprentice program within the Royal Danish Ballet. From 1986 to 1991 Mr. Fayette also participated in and helped to develop lecture demonstrations for the School of American Ballet. These taught about the history and art of ballet and were performed at schools throughout the New York City area.
His vast training and knowledge of ballet served him well as a guest teacher of pas de deux at the School of American Ballet and guest teacher at Ballet Academy East and the New York State Summer School of the Arts along with the number of master classes he would offer at schools across the country when visiting as a performing artist.
During his professional career James founded and managed an independent touring group of dancers from varied dance disciplines, which toured both domestically and throughout Italy from 1995 through 2002. In addition to setting choreography and coaching the dancers, he organized all aspects of the company including programming, casting, staging, rehearsing and most areas of management including production and domestic touring.
Throughout James’ career at New York City Ballet he was a union delegate and participated in all dancer employment contract negotiations. Following retirement from full time performing in 2005, he was recruited by the dancers’ union to become the New York Area Dance Executive for the American Guild of Musical Artists, representing professional dancer employment nationwide. He has worked closely with the managements and dancers of most major American dance companies including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet West, Kansas City Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company and Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He has a deep understanding of how the employment of dancers is managed and is keenly sensitive to the needs and career concerns of professional artists. His approach to resolving problems between companies and their artists has earned him a high level of respect throughout the professional dance world with both the Artists and their managements.
In addition to resolving employment issues, Mr. Fayette has also successfully negotiated and facilitated ground-breaking media agreements including a number of PBS Live From Lincoln Center Broadcasts, Ballet West’s Breaking Pointe television series on the CW Network and New York City Ballet’s city.ballet. web episodes on America Online that are advancing the industry and promoting the effort to release more dance in digital media formats.
James performed principal roles in the PBS Broadcasts of Live From Lincoln Center’s, New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project in 2002 and Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100 in 2004.
James also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from St. Mary’s College of California.