For Bebe Miller, Dance Is How She Understands the World

March 23, 2022

Most of my life in dance has taken place in the studio. Wait, that’s not right. My life in dance—as a choreographer, a dancer, a director, a collaborator, a watcher—happens almost everywhere, anywhere, most of the time. Dance is the way I digest what the world is teaching me. It’s the way I traverse the intersection of “What does this feel like?” and “What makes that particular space between people so…particular?” with “How does this move?” There’s a geometry at work as I’m noticing the dynamics of energy­ and timing and personality all around me. People move. They carry a kind of story-ness in how their bodies bend around each other on the street, in their homes, between breaths. And now in my life as a choreographer and an older dancer, the chance to shape the flow of these intersecting sensations—to music, to humming along, to silence, alone, with favorite and/or new partners—is immensely satisfying.

“Dance is the way I digest what the world is teaching me.”

Bebe Miller

Biggest change from the early years: less worry, more enjoyment. Hold up! Also not quite right. Though of course, yes, I worry less about how a work will come together. (There’s a lot to be said about faith in strategies that have worked before, even when the content is new.) And, yes, dancing in the last few years has been deeply satisfying even as my physical range has shifted. But my physical interest has also shifted. There is so much, still, to feel! So much to notice in the intricacies of timing and rhythm through one’s body. So much to respond to, whether you’re performing or figuring out what a specific sequence might involve. Or just dancing.

I love dancing; always have, always will. We get to be fully available, fully transcendent, deep in memory as well as the now. We get to share all of this in performance, and, when we’re lucky, we get to embody it all in the present moment, wherever we may be.