Benjamin Millepied, 'Black Swan' Choreographer, Retires from City Ballet

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The New York City Ballet has announced that its principal dancer is retiring after 16 years. Benjamin Millepied choreographed numerous ballets for the company -- and others -- including the Metropolitan Opera and the American Ballet theatre. He also choreographed and had a brief role in the film Black Swan -- which won Natalie Portman an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Millepied, 34, has several credits in contemporary classical music. He has commissioned and collaborated with the New York composer Nico Muhly on several pieces, including a new work that will have its premiere on May 10 at New York City Ballet's spring gala. He has also collaborated with David Lang, Thierry Escaich and Philip Glass.

Born in Bordeaux, France and raised in Dakar, Senegal, Millepied first came to the U.S. in 1992 and soon was mentored by the choreographer Jerome Robbins. He originated a principal role in Robbins’ world premiere of 2 & 3 Part Inventions set to music by Bach in 1994. Millepied has been a principal dancer at City Ballet since 2001.

Millepied plans to focus on his choreography, said City Ballet in a statement.