Before joining L.A. Dance Project this season, dancer Kaitlyn Gilliland saw the company perform twice in New York City where she has spent the majority of her career.
Trained at the Minnesota Dance Theatre and the School of American Ballet, Gilliland danced with the New York City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet, appeared with Twyla Tharp’s company and served on the faculty of the School of American Ballet and the New York City Public School for Dance.
“As a spectator, I enjoyed each evening as a welcome breath of fresh air,” she says via e-mail about watching L.A. Dance Project perform in New York.
“Under Benjamin’s (Benjamin Millepied) leadership, the company is fearless in taking collaborative risks and in challenging the status quo as it reimagines how and where dance is presented. I think this gives L.A. Dance Project unlimited potential for growth, and I think it is already creating for itself a place in the dance world that has not existed before.”
On November 14, The Lensic Performing Arts Center presents L.A. Dance Project under direction from choreographer and dancer Millepied, who had been a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet from 1995 through 2011.
Millepied co-founded the company in 2012 with the mission of creating new work and reviving important collaborations from influential dance makers. L.A. Project presents programs in traditional theater venues as well as site-specific performances in non-traditional environments.
The Lensic performance includes three works by Millepied: “Closer,” “In Silence We Speak” and “Orpheus Highway.”
“Benjamin’s choreography defies characterization,” Gilliland continues. “It can be athletic, refined, abstract, narrative-based, cinematic or minimalistic, depending on the piece or the passage.
“Still, I think his musical intuitiveness, his capacity to infuse the classical form with alternative lush and percussive momentum and his commitment to making dances and cultivating artistic collaborations that reflect the social, political and artistic present are hallmarks of his work. They’re all the reasons I moved to L.A. to work with him.”