Benjamin Millepied and Nico Muhly curated international dance festival to kick-off in Qatar

Qatar Creates’”Festival in Motion” features 55 site-specific performances at landmarks across the country, from 5-20 December.

Festival in Motion, presented by Qatar Creates, will offer a major international dance and music programme with more than 55 site-specific performances at some of Qatar’s most significant architectural landmarks, from 5–20 December 2022, coinciding with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. 

Festival in Motion was conceived by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, and co-curated by two internationally acclaimed artists: French choreographer and filmmaker Benjamin Millepied, Artistic Director and Co-founder of the influential L.A. Dance Project, choreographer of the film Black Swan, and former Director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and renowned American composer Nico Muhly whose music has been performed at the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall and others. 

The 13-day programme showcases more than a dozen exceptional artists from around the world.

Audiences can view the performances free of cost in exceptional locations across Qatar, including museums (the National Museum of Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art), public art installations (Richard Serra’s monumental desert installation East West/West East at the Brouq Nature Reserve in Zekreet and Tony Smith’s Smoke at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, Olafur Eliasson’s Shadows travelling on the sea of the day in Al Zubarah) and heritage sites (Historic Barzan Towers).

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Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said: “We have made it our strategy to take our art to the neighbourhoods and cities of Qatar. From the airport to every part of the country, the landscape is open for people to experience arts and culture, complementing our landmark museums and collections.

For the World Cup we have invited Benjamin Millepied and Nico Muhly to curate modern dance performances representing dancers from all around the world.  The Festival in Motion, the first of its kind, will combine the discipline of dance with architecture, art and music.  We hope that these performances will inspire people to think of the unlimited possibilities of creativity.” 

Benjamin Millepied will appear in his own work for a special one-night-only performance with the L.A. Dance Project on the late afternoon of 20 December with live music by Nico Muhly at the site of Richard Serra’s East West/West East. 

Among the choreographers and performers featured in the programme, some appearing in the Middle East for the first time, are:

  • Laura Nala, Paris-based choreographer, hip hop dancer and artistic director of Mazelfreten
  • Janie Taylor, American choreographer, L.A. Dance Project company member and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer.
  • Bouchra Ouizguen, Pioneering Moroccan  choreographer 
  • Salia Sanou, choreographer, founder of La Termitière in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 
  • Madeline Hollander, American visual artist, choreographer, and dancer 
  • Mythili Prakash, a celebrated contemporary Bharata Natyam dancer/choreographer, who will present a new commission and a solo work featuring an international cast of US-based musicians
  • Brigel Gjoka, contemporary dancer, Rauf “Rubberlegz” Yasit, pioneering abstract b-boy, and Rusan Filiztek composer and musician, who will perform Neighbours, a work produced by Sadler’s Wells and first presented in March 2022, inspired by their time with legendary choreographer William Forsythe
  • Bobbi Jene Smith, American choreographer, dancer and actress, whose work will be featured at the Opéra de Paris in March 2022
  • Saburo Teshigawara, pioneering Japanese choreographer and dancer
  • Dimitri Chamblas, choreographer and dancer, who will join forces with “one of the boldest women in rock,” American musician, songwriter and visual artist Kim Gordon 
  • Jill Johnson, choreographer and dancer, a former soloist with the National Ballet of Canada and Principal Dancer with Ballet Frankfurt

L.A. Dance Project will also be participating. Co-founded in 2012 by Artistic Director Benjamin Millepied, L.A. Dance Project presents daring works in traditional venues and unconventional settings across Los Angeles and worldwide.

The opening of its own studio and theater space in 2017 has allowed LADP to create and premiere its work in its hometown and cement itself as a destination for world-class dance in Los Angeles.

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The company’s 18 dancers perform repertory that includes commissions by new and established choreographers, revivals of important historic works, and interdisciplinary collaborations.

The 13-day, free programme will take place in locations including:

  • National Museum of Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel
  • Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei
  • Museum of Islamic Art Park, Heritage Dhow Boats
  • Olafur Eliasson’s new public artwork, Shadows travelling on the sea of the day (2022), at Al Zubarah — a UNESCO World Heritage site (Northeast of Doha)
  • Historic Barzan Towers in the village of Umm Salal Mohammed (North of Doha)
  • Smoke, a public art installation by artist Tony Smith at the Doha Exhibition & Convention Centre in the West Bay of Doha
  • Al Wakrah Pier (Al Wakrah Souq, South of Doha)
  • Richard Serra’s Seven, a sculptural installation in the Museum of Islamic Art Park at the end of the Corniche in Doha.
  • Doha Central Post Office, Central Plaza, off the Corniche in Doha.
  • Richard Serra’s East West/West East, Brouq Nature Reserve in Zekreet

For more information on the full programme including dates and times of performances, please visit Tickets are not required. 

Festival in Motion is one of 300 exciting activities, from cultural events to fashion shows and performances, delivered by Qatar Creates during the FIFA World Cup 2022™ in November and December.

The Qatar Creates One Pass is a gateway to arts and culture for all residents and visitors, providing exclusive access and discounts to art and cultural exhibitions, museums, live events, festivals, theatre, musicals and more. 

For more information about Qatar Creates and the One Pass, visit 

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