Mary Miller/the Mary Miller Dance Company is committed to celebrating the wonder of movement and the diversity of our world both by creating high-quality, artistically challenging modern dance works in collaboration with all manner of other performing artists and by offering classes and performance opportunities to people of all ages, backgrounds, physical and mental abilities.
Moreover, the Mary Miller Dance Company is a committed community resource that has been providing classes and workshops to the Pittsburgh area since its inception. Through our Moving for Life! program we offer a variety of classes that employ our own unique combination of movement, modern dance & psychomotor therapies to participants of all ages and abilities – this program was featured as part of PNC’s “Growing Up Great” campaign, was in residence for 16 years at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children and is currently in use 45 weeks/year at 3 of Allegheny County’s Kane Regional Centers (for residential skilled nursing care and rehabilitation) but is equally applicable in all manner of settings: from preschools to grade schools, from club houses to corporate retreats, and from nursing homes to senior centers.
We also offer more traditional school performances, dance/movement workshops, and lecture-demonstration classes all of which help to develop audiences’ understandings of both modern dance practices and the way that dance provides a magnificent (if abstract) way for artists to express ideas.
For Early Learners we offer ABC Animals on the Move.This interactive performance features a solo dancer and a drummer who together create an accessible story through music and dance. This program lasts 45 minutes.
For middle and high school audiences we offer a variety of programs that can be tailored to the specific needs/desires of the group.
We regularly lead entirely interactive dance/movement workshops as either single-event experiences or for multi-day/week residency projects. Typically, these workshops involve groups of 25 or fewer students interacting directly with no fewer than 2 company dancers and a musician. Times vary.
For groups more interested in observing performances than in interacting with dancers, we offer both lecture-demonstrations and fully staged performances. With the former, we typically focus on educating audiences in the ways of modern dance –striving to overcome the barrier that audiences often feel with the abstract nature of the form. These programs can be tailored to fit individual schools’ schedules, but typically last 90 minutes.
Confluence is an adventurous piece of programming geared toward audiences of no less than middle school age. This 4 segment dance work explores – through dance – the ways that communities are built and strengthened by the phenomenon of inclusion. Specifically, we assemble 3 highly diverse Pittsburgh-based dance companies – ourselves (representing contemporary, American Modern Dance), a company that focuses on the dance traditions of India (the Nandanik Dance Troupe), and an African arts/culture company (UMOJA) – and allow each to present a self-defining and self-contained dance work relating to the natural flow of rivers and the world along their banks. Then, like the conjoining of rivers – each distinct yet somehow stronger and more complex for having joined together (“confluence”) – in the final section all 3 companies take the stage together, intricately weaving their individual rhythms and vocabularies into one richly textured and satisfying whole. This program is most satisfying for all when presented in an interactive manner, but can be offered as a more traditional performance work, depending on the space available and the desires of the host. This program lasts 120 minutes.
Mary Miller, founder, Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer of the Mary Miller Dance Company, is a professional, Pittsburgh-based dancer, choreographer and teacher whose innovative works have been seen at theatres and festivals across the country as well as in a vast array of non-traditional performance venues including parks, art galleries, lobbies and city streets. Her work is characterized by her interest bridging the distance between audiences and modern dance; often accomplishing this by collaborating with all manner of other creative artists and through outreach that allows her to bring dance to a wide-range of community members – particularly to many who traditionally are unable to enjoy the art form. Ms. Miller has been on the faculty at the University of Oregon and New York’s Clark Center for Performing Arts. She served for many years as the Principal Modern Dance Instructor for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s pre-professional Schenley Program, and currently holds guest faculty appointments at both Pittsburgh – CAPA (the Pittsburgh Public School’s Creative and Performing Arts school), and Point Park University’s International Summer Dance Program. At 29 years of age, the Mary Miller Dance Company is the Pittsburgh area’s oldest, single-vision modern dance company.