Party On: The L.A. Dance Project Gala Raises Over $1 Million for the Arts

Hosted by Benjamin Millepied and Natalie Portman, the evening brought together influential creatives in support of creative programming



Saturday, Oct. 19, was a red-letter day for choreographer Benjamin Millepied, founder of L.A. Dance Project, as this year’s edition of his company’s annual gala brought in a staggering $1 million in support of the arts.

With his wife, Natalie Portman, by his side, Millepied welcomed friends such as Andie MacDowell, Frank Gehry, Elisabeth Shue, LL Cool J and others to contemporary gallery Hauser & Wirth in downtown’s Arts District for a very unique evening of rare performances, seasonal dinner courses, specialty libations and a rousing live auction.

Presented in partnership with Van Cleef & Arpels and Creative Artists Agency, and to honor the LUMA Foundation and its founder, Maja Hoffmann, the formal affair kicked off with a Dom Perignon-hosted reception complete with Greg Lauren-dressed waitstaff. The mingling guests then fell silent as composer Nicholas Britell — who scored the 2016 movie Moonlight, which won Best Picture, and 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk (both by director Barry Jenkins, who was also in attendance) — took his seat at a piano and, together with violinist Tim Fain, performed excerpts from the Academy Award-winning film. The duo then surprised everyone with a never-performed piece from HBO’s Succession, which Britell also scores.

Next, gala-goers, including Antonio Villaraigosa, Nick Fouquet, Laura Mulleavy and Kate Mulleavy, reveled in multiple performances rooted in both music and movement. Choreographer Kyle Abraham presented, in collaboration with L.A. Dance Project, his series of vignettes called Excerpt From Chapter Song. Then company dancers performed Millepied’s “I Fall, I Flow, I Melt,” set to melodies by Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, followed by their colleague Janie Taylor in her solo rendition of “Adagio in B Minor.” It all culminated in a final performance by Gabriella Foundation students choreographed by Gianna Reisen.

After the exuberant applause finally concluded, guests tucked into a seasonal feast by Kris Tominaga, chef at Hauser & Wirth’s on-site restaurant, Manuela, paired with California wines and Casamigos cocktails, as the night’s live auction got underway, ultimately cumulating a million-dollars-plus by the night’s end to benefit local arts programs.
















Feature image: L.A. DANCE PROJECT members perform for guests at the company’s annual gala. All photos by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for L.A. Dance Project.


Oct. 22, 2019

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