Program Type: 
Performance
Bebe Miller Company: A History
January 25, 2013 - January 26, 2013
YBCA Forum

Overview

West Coast Premiere
Bebe Miller Company: A History
Fri–Sat, Jan 25–26  •  8 pm  •  YBCA Forum
Advance tickets: $25 Regular  •  $20 students, seniors, teachers
At the door: $30 Regular  •  $25 students, seniors, teachers
$20 YBCA members
FREE for YBCA:You

“Bebe Miller is a cartographer of human emotions, mapping the landscapes of the passions of her dance with luminous intelligence.”
Washington Post

"Her movement is infused with a spirit that clings to the audience even after she and her dancers have left the stage.”
The New York Times

Award-winning dancer and choreographer Bebe Miller has been making dances for more than twenty-five years. Exploring the unruly edges of the heart and mind, she has created a unique physical language that fully expresses the complexities of the human condition. Collaboration is fundamental to her process and she has worked with such notable artists as choreographer Ralph Lemon; composers Fred Frith and Don Byron; filmmaker Isaac Julien; writer/director Ain Gordon; and visual artist Caroline Beasley-Baker, among others.

Her newest work, A History, centers on the nuanced dancing relationship between veteran company members Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones over a 10-year period. An evening-length duet, the work invites audiences into the experience of dance-making. Part performance, part installation, part interaction, A History shifts the focus from performance to process and can be seen simultaneously as both the result and the act of artistic creation, exposing how dancers do what they do and what the outcomes are. The live performance is accompanied by a digital media installation that offers audiences a glimpse of the visual history and thematic journey that has led to this important place in Bebe Miller Company's history.

About the Work
A History is a new dance work directed by Bebe Miller in collaboration with long-time Bebe Miller Company collaborators Angie Hauser, Darrell Jones, and Talvin Wilks, premiering in the fall of 2012 at the Wexner Center for the Arts. A History is an evening-length duet for Hauser and Jones, with video by Lily Skove and an accompanying installation by Maya Ciarrocchi. The work is designed to invite audiences into what dance-making feels like, sounds like, and thinks like. The project offers the uniqueness of a joint performance, installation, and interactive website, ultimately shifting the paradigm of an artist's archive from artifact to artwork.

A History can be viewed as both the evidence and performance of a creative process. All four Bebe Miller Company collaborators — appearing live and virtually — create a dynamic exposure of how they do what they do and in turn catalyze the next questions. Performances are coupled with media installations offering dance “tracks” and thematic journeys that audiences try on for size, experiencing the artist’s process and arriving at new conclusions of their own. This guerrilla mode—nimble, strategic, with multiple points of entry — is designed to give both artists and audience the interactive spontaneity of truly accessible theater, making use of the flexibility of digital media.

Bebe Miller Company’s A History was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University through its Wexner Center Artists Residency Award program and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A History was also developed with support from Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance.

The creation and presentation of A History was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MetLife Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts; and from The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Dance, Advanced Computing Center for Arts and Design, and the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

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Events

  • A History
    Jan 25, 2013 7:00pm
    Jan 26, 2013 7:00pm
    YBCA Forum
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Curator Statement

Our personal histories are bound to include moments of neglect. Bebe Miller’s A History inscribes an arc around 20 years worth of showing up.

Or to put it another way…

In the beginning, among a group of many, there are two, a man and a woman, and a third, a Brooklyn-bred sorceress who’s been coercing their co-orbit for the last 10 years.

Bebe Miller’s return to YBCA is an evening length duet for Darrell Jones and Angie Hauser, true enough. But if it please you, I’d like to veer away from the cosmetics of structure and instead invite you to contemplate the politics of intimacy. In the naked city, who among us hasn’t spent a suffocated moment between fear of the other, and the horror of solitude? This hallmark of our humanity, the thirst for family on our own terms in our own time is among the myriad contradictions that makes love deep, art possible, and therapists wealthy. More immediately, it is within this paradox of closeness that Ms. Miller has mined a new work worthy of her deeply earned stature as one of America’s pre-eminent choreographers.

A History begins in the middle, disembarking from the itchy place of bodies in a state of familiar; that place where you’ve been fighting and risking and levitating with someone for so long that you don’t so much read the other’s mind as you anticipate the other’s preferred path of growth. This is Darrell and Angie’s reality, if not necessarily their biography. Two independent and exquisite dancers who’ve been showing up in each other’s physical orbit for longer than most Americans stay married. This is Bebe’s process. A singular thinker who re-imagines her gestural vocabulary, pulls it apart, makes something new, re-evaluates the component emotions, and than challenges two people who know each other SO well to RE-think that closeness for all of us to see. More immediately, A History uncovers the body of choreographic process itself, giving audiences an opportunity to intimately engage with “what dance-making feels like, sounds like, thinks like…”

The ACTUAL fulcrum of intimate agency in this work is not the two bodies within the staged environment, but the third unseen body. I mean, for real now, who do you trust enough to stay around for 10 years or more? Who in your life have you worked with for over a decade, and are still on speaking terms with? And assuming that such a person exists for you, under what circumstances would you let someone ELSE intervene in that relationship with questions and orders (and movement exercises?!?). It takes a courageous trust to let someone else come so close, and a genuine love and slight pathology to get them to stay. For nearly 30 years, the Bebe Miller Company has been a staging ground for its leader to position bodies in various postures of social unrest and temperamental intervention, and for many of those years, two dancers in particular have inspired the truly selfless act of staying close. None of this has anything to do with sex or romance or the soap opera contours of a man and a woman in a shared space. Deeper than, and far removed from, cosmetic innuendo is the truth-telling it takes to KEEP showing up, to lift, to catch, to sweat, to break with someone. The artists represented in A History have proven themselves worthy of all these things to one another, movement, love, and trust, but the greatest of these is a secret held close…

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Artist Bio

Company Bio
The mission of Bebe Miller Company is to support the artistic vision of choreographer Bebe Miller in creative, cross-disciplinary explorations and in creating and performing new works. Miller's vision of dance and performance resides in her faith in the moving body as a record of thought, experience and sheer beauty. Her aesthetic relies on the interplay of a work's idea, its physicality, and the contributions of company members to fashion its singular voice. Seeking to expand the language of dance, Miller's work encompasses choreography, writing, film, video and digital media. Committed to keeping dance available to a wide spectrum of people, the Company is also dedicated to providing access to the creative process and expression to diverse people in a community.

The Company celebrated its 20th year in 2005 and, after two decades of operating as a traditional touring dance company, BMC is now structured as a "virtual company," with members living in various locations around the U.S. New work is developed over a period of years in long-term residencies that bring BMC dancers and project collaborators together for creative exploration, rehearsals, and community-based activities. BMC is pioneering the use of digital media — DVDs, CD-Roms, website — as "process bulletins" for dancers and collaborators to effectively communicate in an ongoing "virtual residency." The public availability of this media is a means to share company process and technological explorations with the dance field, artists in other disciplines, and the public.

Artist Bios
Bebe Miller (Choreographer, Director) has been making dances for over 25 years and formed Bebe Miller Company in 1985. Known for a mix of virtuosic dancing and fundamental humanity, her choreography has been produced at major dance centers throughout the US and abroad. In addition to her ongoing work with her ensemble, Miller has received commissions from Boston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Philadanco, Phoenix Dance Company in Great Britain and Johannesburg's PATH Dance Company, among other groups across the country and abroad. Collaboration being fundamental to her creative process she has worked with numerous composers, visual artists, writers, filmmakers and directors; she has received four Bessie Awards for choreography and direction, most recently for her collaboration with the eleven-member creative team in Landing/Place (2005). She has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and is a United States Artists Ford Fellow. Currently a Full Professor in Dance at The Ohio State University, she serves on the boards of Danspace Project and Bearnstow, and is a member of the International Artists Advisory Board of the Wexner Center for the Arts. She was recently honored as one of the first group of recipients to receive the Doris Duke Artists Award.

Angie Hauser (Collaborator) has been a dancer/collaborator with the Bebe Miller Company since 2000. She has contributed to BMC company works Verge, Landing/Place and Necessary Beauty, receiving a 2006 BESSIE award for her work in Landing/Place. In addition to her work with BMC she is a dance maker, performer and teacher who has been presented throughout North America and Europe. Ms. Hauser collaborates with many gifted artists and leaders in the field of dance improvisation including Andrew Harwood, K.J. Holmes, Darrell Jones, and Kathleen Hermesdorf. She has an ongoing collaboration with dance artist Chris Aiken creating evening length improvisation performances in collaboration with musicians and other dancers. The duo received NPN Commission grants in 2007 and 2011 for their works Dwell and Utopia Parkway. Recently she has taught and performed at Bates Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival, Transformation Festival (Montreal), Earthdance (MA), TransContact Festival (Romania) and International Improvisation Festival (Germany) as well as other colleges and universities. Ms. Hauser has danced with the companies of Elizabeth Streb, Liz Lerman and Poppo Shiriashi. She received her MFA in dance from the Ohio State University and holds a BA in Art History from University of South Carolina. She is an Assistant Professor at Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Darrell Jones (Collaborator) has performed in the United States and abroad with a variety of choreographers and companies such as Bebe Miller, Urban Bush Women, Ronald K. Brown, Min Tanaka, Ralph Lemon and KOKUMA Dance Theater. Along with performing, Darrell continues to choreograph and teach. He has collaborated with other choreographers including Kirstie Simson, Angie Hauser, Jeremy Wade, Lisa Gonzales, Paige Cunningham and writer, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor; musicians Jessie Mano, Brian Schuler, and DJ Franco De Leon; and designer, Mawish Syed, in dance films, documentations and interactive multimedia installations. In addition to his collaborative work Darrell has also choreographed and produced group projects. Darrell is presently a full-time, tenure-track faculty member at The Dance Center of Columbia College in Chicago. His classes are informed by his training and studies in a variety of contemporary dance techniques and traditional dance forms.

Maya Ciarrocchi (Video Installation) is a video artist and projection designer. Her work has been exhibited in New York at: Chashama; the Chocolate Factory; Dance Theater Workshop; the 2010 Governor’s Island Art Fair; School of Visual Arts; Westbeth Gallery; Sasha Wolf Gallery and: Artisphere, (VA); Borderlines Film Festival, (UK); Hammer Museum, (CA); Moving Pictures Festival, (Canada). In addition to her gallery installations she has created video and projections for dance and theatre with such performing artists as Merce Cunningham, Ping Chong, Bebe Miller, and Donna Uchizono. Ciarrocchi has received residencies from the Kala Arts Institute (CA), the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (NYC) and the Ucross Foundation (WY) and is the recipient a 2006 Bessie award for her video design in Bebe Miller Company’s Landing/Place. Upcoming projects include a commissioned installation for New York Live Arts and a large-scale installation centering on Mountain Top Removal mining practices in Appalachia. Ciarrocchi earned a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase and an MFA in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts.

Lily Skove (Video Artist) is a filmmaker and choreographer, creating for the screen, installation, and live performance. Her films have been shown at Dance Theater Workshop's Digital Series, The Ohio Short Film and Video Showcase, The San Diego/Tijuana DANCEonFILM Festival, and Dance Camera Istanbul, her music videos have been released for The Chandeliers on record labels Pickled Egg Records in Europe, and Obey Your Brain in the States, and she has worked as the video editor on Synchronous Objects for One Flat Thing, reproduced, a website and installation made in collaboration between The William Forsythe Company and The Ohio State University. Her dance company, Skoveworks, has been presented at the Chocolate Factory Theater in New York City, the Laiks Dejot International Contemporary Dance Festival in Riga, Lativa and Oberlin College among other venues. Lily has been on faculty at the The Ohio State University teaching in the Dance and Technology program, and has taught at Oberlin College and the Latvian Academy of Culture's Institute for Choreography in Riga, Lativa. Currently, Lily freelances in camera departments of feature films and owns the production company, Electric Orange Media, with her husband, TJ Hellmuth. Lily holds a Diploma in Dance Studies from the Laban Centre, UK, an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University, and a BA in Dance and English from Wesleyan University.

Talvin Wilks (Dramaturgy) is a playwright, director and dramaturg. His plays include Tod, the boy, Tod; The Trial of Uncle S&M; Bread of Heaven; and An American Triptych. Directorial projects include the
world premiere productions of UDU by Sekou Sundiata (651Arts/BAM), The Love Space Demands by Ntozake Shange (Crossroads), No Black Male Show/Pagan Operetta by Carl Hancock Rux (Joe’s Pub/The Kitchen), Banana Beer Bath by Lynn Nottage, (Going to the River Festival), the Obie Award/AUDELCO Award-winning The Shaneequa Chronicles by Stephanie Berry (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Relativity by Cassandra Medley (Ensemble Studio Theatre – AUDELCO nomination for Best Director 2006) and On the Way to Timbuktu by Petronia Paley (Ensemble Studio Theatre – AUDELCO nomination for Best Director 2008). He has served as co-writer/dramaturg for ten productions in Ping Chong’s ongoing series of Undesirable Elements, and dramaturg for four collaborations with the Bebe Miller Company, Necessary Beauty, Going to the Wall, the Bessie Award-winning Verge, and Landing/Place for which he received a 2006 Bessie Award for Dramaturgy.

Michael Mazzola (Lighting Design) is a long-time Bebe Miller Company collaborator. His critically acclaimed lighting and scenery have been seen in venues all over the U.S. and Europe, ranging from opera houses to circus tents to outdoor amphitheaters. A three-time New York Dance and Performance Award recipient, Michael has recently been given awards on the west coast for his lighting of musical theater and drama.

Michael Wall (Sound Composition / Design) began collaborating with dance and other art forms at an early age and continues to work with artists, internationally. He has made work for the Jose Limon Company, Mark Haim, Lisa Race, John Evans, Lucky Kele, David Dorfman, David Grenke, Rudy Perez, Pam Pietro, Pat Mayer, K.J. Holmes, Paulette Sears, Julia Ritter, Randy James, Martha Tornay/East Village Dance Project, Jenn Nugent, Wally Wolfgruber, Heather McArdle, everything smaller, Incidents Physical Theater, Merge Dance and many others. Michael and designer, Jamie Karczewski, have formed the company ASIMPLESOUND, LLC that produces music and resources for dance, film and other media. Michael works full-time in the Department of Dance at Ohio State University and accompanies at the Bates Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival. His music and new recordings can be found at: http://www.asimplesound.com

Mimi Lien (set designer) is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. Having arrived at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. Mimi is an artistic associate with Pig Iron Theatre Company and The Civilians, and resident designer at BalletTech. She was a semifinalist in the Ring Award competition for opera design in Graz, Austria, and was a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career.

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Bebe Miller Company’s A History was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University through its Wexner Center Artists Residency Award program and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A History was also developed with support from Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance.

The creation and presentation of A History was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MetLife Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts; and from The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Dance, Advanced Computing Center for Arts and Design, and the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

Bebe Miller Company has toured extensively throughout the United States and in eight countries. The Company has been commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music NEXT WAVE Festival, City Center Theater, The Joyce Theater, Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, Northrop Auditorium, On The Boards, Hancher Auditorium, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Theater Artaud, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, New England Presenters, Bates Dance Festival, Dance Place, Painted Bride Art Center, Creative Time, Dance Theater Workshop, Dancing in the Streets and The Danspace Project. All of this would not have been possible without the contributions of all of the dancers, collaborators and board members who have been a part of the work for over twenty years. www.bebemillercompany.org

YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Abundance Foundation
Adobe
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Lam Research

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.

YBCA Performance 12-13 is made possible in part by:
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Salesforce
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Additional Funding for YBCA Performance 12-13:
Zellerbach Family Foundation
Panta Rhea Foundation
New England Foundation for the Arts
and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts