Press Releases

CalArts Selects Dimitri Chamblas as Dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance

CalArts Selects Dimitri Chamblas as Dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance

Performer, choreographer, multidisciplinary artist and curator Dimitri Chamblas has been appointed Dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts. Photo by: Roxanne Lagache. For high resolution photos, click here.

Celebrated French Artist Moves to Los Angeles

(June 21, Los Angeles, CA) — California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) announces that Dimitri Chamblas, former artistic director of the Paris Opera’s creative digital platform 3rd Scene, has been chosen as the new Dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. Chamblas was selected after an extensive national and international search, and will begin his tenure with the start of the 2017 fall semester. He comes to CalArts after a prodigious international career as both a performer and choreographer of contemporary dance, as well as a multidisciplinary artist and curator. Chamblas’s expansive practice connects dance to the visual arts, filmmaking, new media, digital production, and architecture. His celebrated career reflects the same experimental ethos and interdisciplinary focus that distinguishes CalArts. 

“Dimitri has a world-wide reputation as both a performer and creative force in the world of dance,” says CalArts President Ravi S. Rajan. “He is a visionary who believes in innovation and collaboration. His ability to work across many genres makes him an ideal fit for CalArts. We are thrilled that Dimitri chose CalArts as the next step in his prolific career.”

Chamblas joined the Paris Opera’s celebrated dance school at age ten, which inspired him to become a professional dancer and pursue a career in the arts. During his career, he collaborated with such renowned performers, visual artists, and designers as Regine Chopinot, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Richard Alston, Andy Goldsworthy, Christian Boltanski, William Forsythe, and composer Heiner Goebbels. He has taught widely, including at the Dance Institute of Beijing, the French Higher National Conservatory, and even on the streets of Paris in urban workshops.

With choreographer Boris Charmatz, Chamblas co-founded the acclaimed dance company EDNA in 1992. Their duet "A bras le Corps" has been performed on every continent in the world and, this year, entered the repertoire of the Paris Opera.

“For me, CalArts represents a significant opportunity to influence the future of American dance,” says Chamblas. “All of the ingredients are there—amazing teachers, talented dancers and choreographers, and a learning culture that truly celebrates collaboration and new ideas. That CalArts is located in Los Angeles, the creative capital of the U.S., positions it perfectly to be a major source of 21st century dance.”

Since 2011, Chamblas has collaborated with renowned choreographer Benjamin Millepied. Their film and multimedia productions bring dance and opera to both new and traditional audiences. In 2014, Chamblas became artistic director of Paris Opera’s 3rd Stage, a digital platform he and Millipied created. Through a partnership with Google Cultural Institute, Chamblas curated the first immersive 360-degree dance film which was based on original choreography by Millepied.  

Recent projects include a duet with star dancer Marie-Agnès Gillot, participation in the new creation of Boris Charmatz for the Volksbühne in Berlin, and a creation, with architect François Perrin, for the Performa Biennial in New York.

Earlier in his career, Chamblas celebrated dance via commercials, and worked with major international brands such as Nike, Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs. He later produced films with such artists as Xavier Veilhan, Giselle Vienne, and Olivier Saillard.

CalArts’s new President Ravi Rajan, who assumed the role in June of 2017, commented, “Attracting an international talent like Mr. Chamblas speaks volumes about CalArts, and especially our dance program. The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance has an international reputation for innovation and collaboration across genres, which makes Dimitri the ideal hire. Our students will benefit greatly from a school led by such an accomplished international artist. I also think that Los Angeles’s reputation as the leading arts city in the U.S. is attractive to artists like Dimitri. It is my hope that CalArts will help L.A. become the world’s most influential dance city.”

Ranked as America’s top college for students in the arts by Newsweek/The Daily Beast, California Institute of the Arts has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools – Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater – CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institution envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines, and cultural traditions.