Dancing Up Close to Tiffany Mills Company
Tiffany Mills Company- Berries and Bulls (and paper air planes)
Preparing for A Season at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Trina Mannino for The Dance Enthusiast
Tiffany Mills Company will unveil their latest fruit of labor, Berries and Bulls , a world premiere, as well as a first glimpse of The Feast (Part 1) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Fisher Space on May 30-June 2. For ticket information, click here.
Though I only observed a rehearsal of Berries and Bulls, after speaking with Mills, I realize that the two works, while extremely different in approach and form, are both are signature Mills. This choreographer is known for risky movement vocabulary, which here is superimposed with musical scores, every day sounds, witty banter and -- paper airplanes.
The evening-length Berries and Bulls “explores of touch, relationships, and ideas of attraction and compulsion,” says Mills as we chat at Starbucks near DANY Studios where her company rehearses.
Her piece has been in the works since 2009 and its ensemble has grown to 14 dancers (Mills usually works with a core group of four). Additionally, it is a multidisciplinary work including text, theater collaborators assisting with editing and theatrical direction, and a large-scale set made out of paper (hence paper airplanes.)
While the breadth of such a production can be daunting, Mills feels her dancers and collaborators rise to the challenge. “Many of the new dancers have taken workshops and classes with us or work with company dancers. That helped with the learning curve quite a bit.”
Her long-time colleague and (sometimes) collaborator, dramaturge Peter Petrlia, also has helped integrate Berries and Bulls’ layered explorations of relationships, organizing them in a way that audience members can relate to. “Theater brings the ability to be concrete and it connects with people who aren’t dance aficionados,” says Mills.
And, what about The Feast?
“The Feast is a raw study looking at what I know and where I come from,” she says. The work, a homage of sorts to the choreographer’s earlier pieces, is largely driven by pure movement and finds Mills returning to work with an original score.
“When it comes down to it ... , Mills confides, "I always return to relationships and the human condition.”