The New York-based Tiffany Mills Dance Company will be exploring the subject of human relationships through dance at 7:30 p.m. tonight at The State Theatre.
Tiffany Mills, the show’s choreographer and artistic director of Tiffany Mills Dance Company, said the performance titled “Berries and Bulls” is an evening-length work that combines aspects of dance and theater. Mills said she collaborated with theater director Peter Pertralia to create the show.
“We’ve been working with the dancers for quite a long time so it’s been a luxury for us to have that long to dig in and build this work,” Mills said.
The performance examines the emotional and physical connection between the four dancers.
“We’re looking intensely at long-term relationships,” Mills said. “How they can crumble, how they can be repaired, they navigate over time.”
Mills said touch –– when it is OK, when it is not, and feelings about it –– is a prevalent theme throughout the work. She said a form of modern dance, which falls in the category of partnering, called contact improvisation is used in the performance.
“We work with other bodies to speak about the human condition and something very human,” Mills said.
She said her love of sports, specifically gymnastics and swimming, led to an exploration of dance in a physical way.
“It also speaks about real people now in a concrete way,” Mills said.
She said she believes this will allow a wide range of audiences to be able to take something away. Last night, Mills took part in a workshop, which she said was aimed to focus on partnering technique.
Mills said she planned to use simple exercises to provide basic skills needed to understand weight in dance and practice how to lift and be lifted.
“With simple tools and exercises we can learn a great deal about how to use gravity and physics to fly people over our heads or fall to the floor with ease,” Mills said.
Cathy Brown, marketing director for The State Theatre, said she thinks dance companies are not often this well versed in this type of dance and from a dancer’s point of view, having the chance to learn from them must be fascinating.
Brown said she thinks the workshop will allow dancers of all types to feel less inhibited on stage and learn to incorporate spontaneity.
Richard Biever, executive director at The State Theatre, said he thinks this is a wonderful and rare opportunity for a professional dance company to work with students and perform in the community.
He said he believes one of the main purposes is reflecting the human tradition.
“This show is a reflection of how they think and how they feel,” Biever said. “People can see problems they have worked out through art.”