Natalie Portman’s Husband Reveals Deep-Rooted Racism in Ballet

French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied poses for a portrait session on December 1, 2016 at The Los Angeles Theater Center in Los Angeles, California.
French choreographer Benjamin Millepied, who spectacularly left the Paris Opera Ballet earlier this year, will mark his return to Los Angeles this week with a new show. The dance star -- husband of Hollywood actress Natalie Portman -- also revealed he is working on a feature film as he held rehearsals this week with his dance troupe from the L.A. Dance Project at a studio in downtown Los Angeles. / AFP / VALERIE MACON        (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Natalie Portman’s Husband Reveals Deep-Rooted Racism in Ballet

The dancer quit the Paris Opera Ballet because of it.

Published December 30, 2016

Ballet dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, famously known as the spouse of actress Natalie Portman, is being applauded for explaining exactly why he chose to step down as the dance director of the Paris Opera Ballet earlier this year.

According to Page Six, Millepied is finally opening up about the decision, citing that a major factor in his leaving his new role after two years is directly related to instances of overt racism he witnessed while working for the esteemed company.

Millepied originally cited "personal reasons," for leaving the company. However, as revealed in the forthcoming documentary Reset, the dancer gets more specific, detailing his firsthand disgust with the ballet company's blatant lack of diversity.

"I heard someone say a Black girl in a ballet is a distraction," the dancer says in the new documentary, which is set to air on January 13. "If there are 25 white girls, everyone will look at the Black girl. Everyone must be alike in a company, meaning everyone must be white."

His commentary in the documentary helps to clarify the vague statement he made in a press conference following the initial announcement he was resigning.

"I’ve realized that it’s too hard to turn this [organization] into what I think is most relevant for ballet today," he previously stated. 

While working with Opera de Paris, Millepied gave a mixed-race dancer the lead role in one of his classical ballets, a first in the company's history. However, as exemplified in the new documentary, his work focusing on shattering norms in the ballet industry is far from finished. 

Written by KC Orcutt

(Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)


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