Andrea Miller works out her quirky moves with Gallim dancers.

Gallim Dance partners with Dancewave in Brooklyn

 

Wild, theatrical, kooky—Andrea Miller's work has sparked a lot of interest in American dancegoers since she first brought her flair to New York. After working with Israel's Batsheva Ensemble, she founded Gallim Dance (Hebrew for "waves"), creating movement influenced by Gaga, an improvisation technique pioneered by Ohad Naharin, artistic director of Batsheva. Since Gallim's inception in 2007, Miller has received a broad range of commissions, from Ballet Hispanico to K-Swiss, and she frequently sets work at colleges, including her alma matter, The Juilliard School.

In 2011, Gallim moved into its own space in Brooklyn, and in the spring it will team up with neighboring Dancewave, a school that provides pre-professional dance training to an economically and culturally diverse community.

Students from the most advanced of Dancewave's three troupes will take class and learn repertoire from Miller, and a handful of students will receive individual coaching and mentorship from company dancers. Miller hopes the inaugural year of partnership will result in a more permanent connection between Dancewave and Gallim.

Dance Teacher: Your company is still so young. Why concentrate on education now?

Andrea Miller: There's one boy who has been at Dancewave for three years. He sneaks away to every rehearsal and performance and his parents don't know—they have never seen him dance. And he's incredible. This kid could be a professional and get scholarships and financial aid to college. But instead, he joined the navy because it was his only idea of how he could pay for school. Some of these kids feel like dance is a fundamental part of their lives, but they're not getting support at home. We want to look at closing the gap between high school and college dance education, so they can pursue this beyond Dancewave.

DT: Do you enjoy working with students?

AM: I love it! It's exciting to see somebody develop a passion. I get really motivated when the kids start to self-teach and figure it out for themselves, whether that's discovering that passion or figuring out how to do a turn. They become an unstoppable engine, and that's really exciting to me.

DT: Do you and your company mem-bers have experience in teaching?

AM: I got thrown into it when I was in Israel. I organized open workshops and later, looked for more organized ways of teaching. At first it was to increase my income, but I just loved it. I like the mental game—learning who's in the room and what their needs are. It improved my dancing. And it was wonderful to see that dance could mean more than just my own personal progress.

 

My dancer Caroline Fermin directs the educational arm of Gallim. She has done a lot of work with kids and has a huge passion for it. Together we'll lead classes—not all Gallim dancers will be involved at first. Training my dancers to teach class and repertory is a slow and intensive process. I have them assist me when we teach master classes on tour, and I give them feedback on how each class went. We'll also train with someone at Dancewave before my dancers begin their one-on-one mentoring.DT: What's the greatest challenge in working with high school students?

AM: Kids this age aren't as open to my movement at first. It doesn't matter who I am or what I've done, they don't care. They already have an idea of their values—what they feel strongly about and what their teachers have said about dance. Some feel like they were born for my movement. "Finally, I'm doing something crazy!" Others feel very uncomfortable to act so goofy and raw. It's a constant negotiation. It's about the chemistry in the room.

DT: How will this new home allow you to further your educational programming?

AM: When you're just teaching two-week workshops, you're doing whatever you need to be supportive at whatever level the students are in their training. That's fine and we'll continue to do that, but I want to be involved in something that's a larger investment in the dancers. I took class between 9 and 18 at the same studio, and it shaped my life. DT

 

Photo by Emily Terndrup, courtesy of Gallim Dance

 

Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

Keep reading... Show less
Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

Keep reading... Show less
Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

Keep reading... Show less
How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored