To mark its Los Angeles homecoming, the L.A. Dance Project unveiled its new performance space to the public at its annual gala on Saturday night.
The affair brought out director and cofounder Benjamin Millepied and his closest collaborators and friends, including wife Natalie Portman, Rashida Jones, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gina Rodriguez, Ellen Page and more.
Jones, who got ready with the Millepieds, was excited for a “mind-blowing” show and another reminder that her close friend is a renowned talent. “We’ve definitely done dance parties together,” she said. “But I always forget that he’s a dancer. He’ll swing their son around, it’s the most graceful thing you’ve ever seen in your life, and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s a professional dancer.’”
One guest who had Millepied’s work seared in her memory is newly-minted director Kate Mulleavy. Recalling her first experience seeing the choreographer’s work on the set of “Black Swan,” with her sister Laura, she mused, “Ben is such an amazing creative force. I think he’s one of the great artists of our time. He takes you on a journey. I think dance is such an incredible form of communication and art. It just makes you think and express your mind. He’s very emotive and makes you feel.”
Before fleeing the red carpet with her husband to begin the festivities, Portman noted, “It’s really incredible to get to see this space open up for the Los Angeles public. I’m really excited to get to be here, to see incredible dancers and to honor Misha who is just a legend and hero of mine.”
Once inside, guests took in a presentation from L.A. Dance project, Emma Portner, and The Colburn School, followed by dinner and more dancing at a Rag & Bone-sponsored after party. Guests including Alice Eve and Amber Valletta took the floor in response to the sound of early-aught hip-hops classics played by DJ Kris Bones.
Taking an early exit, Page left hand in hand with Portner lauding, “Amazing, I loved it.” And shortly after, Rodriguez followed in a lively fashion yelling, “Fantastic, I live for it,” over the music.