When Benjamin Millepied says he loves Chopin, he’s not paying lip service. “Me starting ballet was directly linked to that music,” says the New York City Ballet principal dancer and, at age 31, accomplished choreographer, who grew up in Bordeaux. “And later on when I came to New York, obviously I discovered Jerry Robbins’s work to Chopin, and it just totally made sense to me—he completely understood the music.” So when it came time to create a new (as yet untitled) piece for his star-filled ensemble Danses Concertantes, a group composed largely of his favorite dancers from ABT, Millepied returned to his roots. Inspired by Robbins’s devotion to Chopin but determined to maintain his individuality, Millepied set the piece to Chopin’s calmer, slightly dark preludes, instead of the lively mazurkas and waltzes Robbins preferred. “There will be little stories in each part, a relationship that’s very human between the dancers, which I know sounds very Robbins,” Millepied says with a laugh. “But I’m using a different language that’s closer to me, that goes someplace else from where Jerry did.”
Joyce Theater; December 9–14.