Dimitri Chamblas' "Slow Show" performance.
Photo: Anne-Sylvie Bonnet

Van Cleef & Arpels Brings Innovative Dance Performances to New York and Los Angeles

The storied jewelry house is teaming up with choreographers Gisèle Vienne, Benjamin Millepied, and Dimitri Chamblas for its Dance Reflections initiative

Benjamin Millepied. Photo: Morgan Lugo

There’s a long and well-documented history between fashion and dance. Chanel designed for Sergei Diahgliev’s Ballet Russes, while Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent created pieces for the legendary prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn. Claude and Pierre Arpels, similarly, were friendly with George Balanchine, the “father of American ballet,” who was allegedly inspired to create Jewels, a ballet with three acts (Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds) by the windows of Van Cleef & Arpels 5th Avenue boutique. The ballet debuted 55 years ago and still enchants audiences to this day, as does the storied jeweler’s continued support of the world of dance.

In 2020, Van Cleef & Arpels launched Dance Reflections, an initiative they say aims to “uphold the artists and institutions that showcase the modern and contemporary choreographic repertoire, while encouraging new productions.” This year, Dance Reflections is partnering with three choreographers staging performances at venues in New York and Los Angeles.

Groupe dance of Benjamin Millepied's "Be Here Now" performance. Photo: Lorrin Brubaker

From October 13–15, French choreographer Gisèle Vienne’s production of Crowd will be shown at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). It’s been described as a “hypnotic” and “magnetic” 90-minute performance, a story of 15 characters (dancers) at an all-night rave, with a playlist by the late electronic music composer Peter Rehberg. No words are spoken, yet Vienne collaborated with the writer Dennis Cooper to create a narrative around the characters, with “15 stories….and all these layers of text.”

Dimitri Chamblas. Photo: Courtesy of studio dimitri chamblas

Later this month, Dance Reflection partners with L.A. Dance Project and MOCA to once again stage Crowd (albeit a version adapted for the outdoors), as well as Be Here Now by Benjamin Millepied, with a set designed by the artist Barbara Kruger. Dimitri Chamblas—a choreographer, artistic director, and educator whose awe-inspiring career includes collaborations with top fashion houses and artists, as well as creating a performance using inmates in a maximum security prison—will also present Slow Show, a piece “the performance is rooted in the principles of trance, exultation, telepathy, and unconscious memories,” featuring amateur dancers.

Gisèle Vienne. Photo: Karen Paulina Biswell

“We want to support confirmed and emerging artists who innovate in their approach to creation and in their writing of dance. This is how we hope to enrich the choreographic repertoire,” noted Serge Laurent, Director of Dance & Cultural Programs for Dance Reflections. While these performances a far cry from Balanchine’s time and style, Laurent notes that his pieces, and those of others who preceded him, are not excluded from future programming. “We also wish to present historical works that have made the history of dance over the past 50 years. To understand and approach a contemporary work it is important to know those that preceded.”

Dimitri Chamblas' "Slow Show" performance. Photo: Anne-Sylvie Bonnet

Cover: Dimitri Chamblas' "Slow Show" performance.
Photo: Anne-Sylvie Bonnet


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