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By Jackie Mantey
Bebe Miller’s A History
Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones in Miller’s A History. Photo by Julieta Cervantes, Courtesy Yerba Buena Center.
Bebe Miller is a four-time Bessie Award–winning creator of adroit postmodern improvisation. Her latest work, A History, premiered at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH, last fall (Miller is also a dance professor at Ohio State University) and will run at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts this month. For the piece, Miller turns her physically and emotionally intelligent lens on how time has touched the relationships within her dance company, founded almost three decades ago.
The duet stars long-time Bebe Miller Company dancers Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones. Extended solos of tightly scored improvisation in the beginning of the piece establish the dancers as individuals. The pair’s movements then meld together, apart, and together again, a physical parallel to the relationship between dancer and dancer.
Complementing the dancing is a video installation. Also, the dancers sometimes wear headphones and say words aloud; the dialogue they’re repeating are recorded conversations from past dancemaking sessions among Miller, Hauser, Jones, and the company’s dramaturg Talvin Wilks.
“I hope the audience sees they’re not just dancing together. They’re going totally into who they are as people and what’s that exchange,” says Miller. “The larger audience will recognize them as humans trying to get something done.”
From San Francisco A History will take its story to stages in Canton, NY; Urbana, IL; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Los Angeles; New York City; Blacksburg, VA; and Lewiston, ME.