“…expressive, evocative and inspiring dancing.
Miller is a theater artist of tremendous imagination,
but certainly not one to lay her ideas out for you in simple fashion.”—Twin Cities.com
A HISTORY can be viewed as both the evidence and performance of a creative process. All four BMC collaborators – appearing live and virtually – create a dynamic exposure of how we do what we do and in turn catalyze the next questions. Performances were coupled with media installations offering dance “tracks” and thematic journeys that audiences try on for size, experiencing our process and arriving at new conclusions of their own. This guerrilla mode—nimble, strategic, with multiple points of entry—was designed to give both artists and audience the interactive spontaneity of truly accessible theater; make use of the flexibility of digital media; and minimize production and touring costs. Both the theatrical work and installation contained media suitable for a range of spaces and available virtually, strategically entangling audience with process and performance; events were developed in close dialog with presenters.
A HISTORY reveals the interpersonal subtext that drives our particular mode of inquiry. As such, it connects an audience to their own experiences of creative partnerships. It is filtered through the collaboration between Hauser and Jones that began with the Bessie award-winning Verge (2001). A HISTORY probes findings from a 10-year perspective to expose the collision of their internal processes as dancers. It shares that vulnerability in an interactive format, creating something new. To view video excerpts of the work, visit our Media page.
Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones
Michael Wall, Darren Morze, additional music by Hahn Rowe, Bradford Chapin, Albert Mathias
Wexner Center for the Arts, September 2012
A History: The Use of Text
Throughout the performance, text is used as hyper-reality, sometimes inserted, projected and interjected into scenes. The sources are from various interviews, recorded rehearsal conversations, journal reflections, original writings and past texts generated from previous dances. Texts range from discussions used as source material fed through the dancers’ headsets, to an essay written by Angie Hauser describing her experience of performing with Darrell Jones in Landing/Place (2005). Also included is text from Verge (2001), generated through the “capture” of bits of speech from the rehearsal process. The intention is to create self-reflecting loops of meaning and history that are strung throughout, purposely absurd, at times nonsensical, but hopefully, revealing layers of thought, concept and process.
Talvin Wilks, Dramaturg
At once an archive and installation as well as a performance piece, A History reveals the interpersonal subtext that drives our particular mode of inquiry. The exchange that’s at the heart of our process began before there was a place for it. It has taken us through one work to the next – picking up the thread, the next new sense of the body, the unfinished business we couldn’t solve. A History is remembering remembering. As such, it is an archive of our practice, an incomplete and completely subjective accounting built on ideas, movement and conversations from the past 10 years. It is filtered through Angie and Darrell’s nuanced collaboration as dancers that began with Verge (2001) and travels through Landing/Place (2005) and Necessary Beauty (2008). Talvin’s attendant dramaturgy carries a structural tone through those works towards this new one, sensed more than seen. Lily’s films viscerally and formally re-imagine our view of the process of making and performing dances. And Maya’s video installation, comprised of life-sized video portraits of a number of Bebe Miller Company’s longtime collaborators, invites the viewer to challenge their assumptions about the nature of relationships. Together, we have logged hundreds of hours of asking and answering questions about how we do what we do, identifying our independent and collective maps through the works we’ve made, and creating new materials that expose the methodologies at the heart of our process.
The evidence of our artistic history together is referenced throughout A History. Used texts and dances resurface, new to most audiences; they trigger old connections that are recalled, retold and carried forward. I trust this process is familiar; we’ve all been purposeful magpies gathering the shiny bits into something newly made.
Bebe Miller, Choreographer
Installation: Moving Portraits
Maya Ciarrocchi’s video installation depicts a number of long time Bebe Miller Company collaborators and is a continuation of the artist’s ongoing portrait series I’m Nobody! Who Are You? The work is comprised of life-sized video portraits presented in pairs. The work breaks boundaries by allowing the viewer to observe individuals for longer lengths of time than would exist in standard social conditions. By observing paired portraits, viewers create relationships, and consequently narratives, between the participants despite the known conditions of the filming. The work challenges the viewer to consider how they construct their appearance for others and respond to the same construction of others. Ultimately, Moving Portraits asks viewers to consider the artificiality of their assumptions about communities and individuals.
The exhibition Bebe Miller: Tracing History is made possible at OSU’s Urban Arts Space with support from Ohio State’s Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute, as well as Ohio State’s Arts Initiative. Additional support is provided by the Wexner Center for the Arts’ Performing Arts program. The exhibition Bebe Miller: Tracing History is made possible by the Contemporary Art Center (CAC) network, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), with major support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. CAC is comprised of leading art centers and brings together performing arts curators to support collaboration and work across disciplines, and is an initiative of NEFA’s National Dance Project. Wexner Center for the Arts’ Performing Arts program is a member of CAC.
Bebe Miller: Tracing History is curated by Jerry Dannemiller, Wexner Center for the Arts, a project developed at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) at Wesleyan University. Peter Taub, Director of Performance Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, served as ICPP project advisor.
Bebe Miller Company’s A History was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University through its Wexner Center Artist Residency Award program and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. A History was also developed with support from Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance.
The creation of A History was made possible with support from The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Humanities Grants for Research and Creative Activity and the Department of Dance, as well as by the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute, and the Department of Women’s Studies and their Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women grant program.
The creation of Bebe Miller Company’s 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.
The presentation of Bebe Miller Company’s 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.
Additional support for Bebe Miller Company has been provided by the Multi-Arts Production Fund, a program of Creative Capital Foundation supported by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Bebe Miller Company and A History are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The work’s development was co-produced as part of The Forsythe Company’s Motion Bank: TWO Project by Maria Palazzi and Norah Zuniga-Shaw, Advanced Computing Center for Arts and Design at The Ohio State University. Motion Bank is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Hessian Ministry for Science and the Arts, the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain and Ms. Susanne Klatten.
Funding for A History was also provided by the United States Artists’ USA Projects donation program.