Gallim Dance | Dance review
It must be fun to dance for Andrea Miller. The artistic director and choreographer of Gallim Dance brought the goods last night at the Dance Center, but it wasn’t simply the fact that Miller’s work is a suspenseful evolution of highs, lows, peaks and valleys; it was also that the dancers look like they’re having a blast dancing it. Blush is an athletic marathon as much as it is a piece of choreography; it’s a workout, and it doesn’t stop till the makeup runs down the fronts of faces and the backs of necks.
Miller, who comes from the school of Gaga, having danced under Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin, has talked about her fondness for athleticism. But if Miller learned anything from her time in Tel Aviv, it’s to make the most of the movement and even more the stillness. The roughly hour-long Blush begins with a male solo, a punch in the mouth of writhing, pops, locks and force that sets the tone for the next variation—a trio of long-legged, technically elegant women. Three men drag themselves in the background, until they eventually assimilate with the rest of the group. The contrast of sharp lines, inverted torsos and contracted bellies is arresting, though some of the more poignant portions of the dance happen when there’s almost no movement at all.
Doused in white, grainy paint, the dancers flail and tangle their limbs, gesturing in unpredictable fashion. Shifts occur in cued blackouts and music changes, perhaps the only thing that doesn’t feel as seamless as the rest of the piece. Otherwise, the imagination and the infusion of energy are in tune with the title of the work—a rush of blood that effectively shades our faces a new color.
I confess to loving Naharin’s Gaga technique, which is based on a free-flowing, do-it-yourself investigation of moving. But this wasn’t a Batsheva piece, at least not to me. Miller has caught flak for imitating her onetime mentor with similar aesthetics. Some influence is there, yes, but Naharin is not what I felt. In fact, one of Miller’s achievements is using the techniques of Gaga to inspire her own investigation of harder, faster momentums, using many styles and forms. Gaga isn’t the only thing present.
In a rip-roaring finale, the dancers coalesce in hearty celebration, an indie rave. Like the "fuck it, I don’t care who’s watching" dancing of a woman that inspired Miller to choreograph Blush in the first place, the rave feels awesome, as the dancers absorb the totality of their surroundings, anticipating the following two days, when they get to do it over again.