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Benjamin Millepied, 'Black Swan' choreographer, leaving City Ballet

October 26, 2011 |  2:45 pm

Benjamin Millepied with Natalie Portman

Benjamin Millepied -- the renowned ballet dancer who is perhaps even better known as the father of actress Natalie Portman's baby -- is stepping down from his position as a principal at New York City Ballet, the company announced on Wednesday. Millepied, 34, who hails from France, was with the company for 16 years.

In a release, Millepied said that he is particularly "thankful to Peter Martins for first believing in me as a dancer, and then as a choreographer, allowing me to run two careers simultaneously over the past six years." Martins serves as City Ballet's master in chief.

Millepied joined the New York company in 1995 and was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1998 and to principal dancer in the spring of 2002.

As a choreographer, Millepied has worked on productions at City Ballet as well as American Ballet Theatre, the Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet and more. He served as choreographer for the 2010 Darren Aronofsky movie  "Black Swan," where he met Portman. Their son was born earlier this year.

One of Millepied's future jobs as choreographer will be on the musical "Hands on a Hardbody," which will debut at the La Jolla Playhouse in April.

He will also choreograph a world premiere piece for City Ballet set to a commissioned score by Nico Muhly, the company said. The work is scheduled to debut in May.

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-- David Ng

Photo: Benjamin Millepied with Natalie Portman, after the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

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