Jean-Michel Othoniel Versailles

Lil Buck performs in front of Jean-Michel Othoniel’s fountain at Versailles. Photo by Morgan Lugo.

The grand grounds of Versailles, the former home of Louis XIV, have remained pretty much the same since the 18th century. Until now, that is. This weekend, the French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel installed a fountain, four years in the making and inspired by a rare book on dance steps that date back to the 1700s. “The challenge of this project was to ensure continuity with Versailles’s history and run through this dialogue with the King and the world he created around him,” explains Othoniel. “I had to go into such a rich history to create my fountain sculptures that I felt, from the very beginning, I was some kind of ‘chosen one’ connecting with a magnificent lost world.”

To inaugurate the opening of Othoniel’s whimsical glass creation in the Water Theater Grove, the Paris Opera Ballet director Benjamin Millepied and dancer Lil Buck staged L.A. Dance Projects choreographer Julia Eichten "O’de"—bringing Othoniel’s inspiration full circle. “There hasn't been a performance here for three centuries,” added Lil Buck, “Just knowing the pressure is almost overwhelming, because we have to break it in again. I feel amazing to be a part of this set of history.”