The Times Looks at the Fabulous Fundraising Life of Mr. Natalie Portman

108078283 The Times Looks at the Fabulous Fundraising Life of Mr. Natalie PortmanBenjamin Millepied is the guy who knocked up Natalie Portman. He’s also one of the most celebrated ballet dancers and choreographers on the planet, and the fact that his new found celebrity  obscures his talent merits a nice long profile in The New York Times called, appropriately, “Leaping Into the Spotlight.” 

The Times doesn’t claim to have any Natalie-related “scoops,” though, as Millepied seems content to not discuss his Black Swan dance partner (he did the choreography and danced the lead male part in the film’s production of Swan Lake). Instead, we get a fun look at the world of wooing high-minded ballet patrons, another stage where Millepied excels. It seems those funding the shows just think he’s the prettiest, and loosen their purses accordingly.

“It doesn’t hurt that he has a French accent,” admitted School of American Ballet board member and Chanel heiress Coco (!) Kopelman. 

Someone’s got to fund the sets and tutus, and other “serious” ballet artists seem a wee bit jealous at Millepied’s golden-boy status. What’s his real import here — the dancing or the dollars?

But some go further and cattily whisper that Mr. Millepied’s charisma makes up for his shortcomings as a choreographer, and is the real reason for his numerous commissions. For instance, when the Pacific Northwest Ballet tapped him to choreograph an original work in 2008, it did so knowing that the work would be underwritten by an endowment from the Joyce Theater, the Stephen and Cathy Weinroth Fund for New Works.

Not that any of this matters. Once he Portman have a perfect and beautiful little kid to trot out at fundraisers, no Millepied production will ever have to beg for funding again.

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nfreeman [at] observer.com | @nfreeman1234