Bebe Miller has been performing her own choreography since she took the stage at New York City’s Dance Theater Workshop in 1978. This weekend, the Ohio State professor and renowned choreographer and director will premiere her company’s latest show, “In a Rhythm,” at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
In addition to what will take place on stage from Thursday to Sunday, Miller also will create a special installation for audience members to explore before and after the performances.
“In a Rhythm” explores the dance-making process, the language of dance and the syntax of movement and how we absorb its meaning, according to the Wexner Center for the Arts website. The show was developed with the support of a creative residency at the Wexner Center during a yearlong collaborative dialogue between Miller and fellow choreographer, Susan Rethorst.
“Clearly, Bebe is an institution in Columbus, but what many people may not realize is her standing as a leader in the experimental performance community nationally,” said Lane Czaplinski, performing arts director at the Wexner Center. “She’s part of a generation of postmodern choreographers that created and toured work widely in the ‘80s and ‘90s … and she’s had tremendous influence on the field as we know it today.”
Miller explains that in addition to the complexities of “In the Rhythm,” she describes how physicality is essential in her choreography.
“My own interests as a choreographer are in finding context in the physical expression, along with its reverse,” Miller said. “[I believe in] using physicality as a device for locating oneself in our current times.”
Czaplinski also believes this a rare opportunity for fellow Ohio State students and creatives to find inspiration.
“For students who are interested in making things, it’s an opportunity to watch and learn from a master artist,” Czaplinski said. “[It’s important to watch] as she creates shape and substance from seemingly abstract and random elements.”
To Miller, her work, and dance as an art form, can convey to an audience how we hear and see ourselves in the world.
“If we take it on faith that our composing eye is active while we’re making sense of what’s around us, perhaps the connections between idea and action can be seen as [an] ongoing discovery rather than problems to be solved,” Miller said. “I’m interested in creating a space for in-depth exchange on the manner of process as well as aesthetic range and detail.”
“In a Rhythm” will be running every night at the Wexner Center this weekend. Performances will take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for students and $22 for the public.