Andrea Miller

Onward and upward

Andrea Miller—of the Juilliard pedigree, prestigious commissions and wildly inventive choreography—isn’t one to back down from a challenge. Next month, her company, Gallim Dance (Hebrew for “waves”), will premiere an immersive installation piece in Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium—a long and narrow space that will limit the sightlines of the audience members, depending on where they’re standing. Rather than viewing the venue’s layout as an impediment, Miller considers it a choreographic stimulant. “That’s the obstacle that the environment is providing for us,” she says. “I do think about it, but then I ignore it.” She pauses. “Then I think about it, and then I ignore it.”

Solving choreographic problems “In any piece there are all sorts of problems that need to be solved. I’m not good at solving them all at the same time, so I try to solve one problem. I just try to make incremental progress toward what the voice of the piece will be. I never know which problems I’m going to confront or which will be answered and in what order.”

The disadvantages of youth “I definitely experience ageism. [Miller is 32.] Somehow, in the dance world, if you’re not Martha Graham or Alvin Ailey, you don’t count. It’s extremely frustrating, especially because I feel like youth is appreciated in other fields, like the tech world. The innovation is coming from extremely young minds.”

Loneliness “Choreographing for a huge community that you’re engaging with—it’s a very lonely thing, somehow. You’re on one side of the room by yourself. And then there are eight dancers looking at you, staff looking at you, the audience looking at you. It’s a collaborative thing, but it’s sometimes very lonely.”

Why she has her dancers teach “I feel like everyone’s dancing in the studio totally changes once they start teaching. If you have to figure out how to explain something to somebody, it really has to be legible in your body and your mind. That process just trickles down into all parts of the dancer.” DT

Training: BFA from The Juilliard School

Performance: Danced with the Batsheva Ensemble 2004–2006

Choreography: Created Gallim Dance in 2007, which has performed at New York’s Fall for Dance Festival and Colorado’s Vail International Dance Festival; Princess Grace Award winner and 2014 Guggenheim Fellow

Photo courtesy of First Republic Bank

Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.