- (Photo: Reuters / Lucy Nicholson)
Benjamin Millepied has been named the next Director of Dance at the Paris Opera Ballet even though he and wife Natalie Portman are currently based in Los Angeles.
The former New York City Ballet principal dancer was formally confirmed as the new director in Paris on Friday. Millepied will succeed Brigitte Lefevre, who has headed the Opera Ballet since 1995.
"I am sure that Serge Lifar came in frequently through this door to demand more for his ballet company," said the Opera Ballet's general director Nicolas Joel at Paris' Palais Garnier at a news conference today.
Then, looking at the Ballet's current director Lefevre, Joel added, "It's a tradition that has continued," before introducing Millepied.
While the new position places Millepied in one of the most prestigious dance establishments in the world, the dancer said he would remain committed to the L.A. Dance Project- a company he launched in 2011.
"It's close to my heart," Millepied told The Los Angeles Times. "There's no desire to make it a project that will end when I leave."
Furthermore, the French choreographer noted that he would keep the future bright for the project.
"In no way is it something I want to abandon," added Millepied. "I think it is important to follow through with it."
Millepied will begin his work in Paris in September 2014.
The 35-year-old is best known for choreographing and starring in 2010's "Black Swan" alongside Portman, who portrayed the lead in the film. It was on the set of the critically acclaimed film that Millepied and Portman met and started dating.
The pair married in August just over a year after welcoming their son Aleph. Their private nuptials took place during a sunset in Big Sur, California before high-profile friends such as Ivanka Trump and Macaulay Culkin. Further details were never made public, as Portman has insisted on privacy.
Personal life, the actress said, "is something which comes first, always makes sense, and compared to the happiness of a successful family life, everything else is practically superficial," she explained to French magazine Madame Figaro.
When it comes to her husband's new job in Paris, Portman has hinted in the past that moving to France would suit her.
"I now have the possibility of taking on French nationality," Portman said to Madame Figaro. "It would accomplish the Francophile dreams of my father and myself."