Monday, October 8, 2012

Reflections From a Former Student...

Tiffany Mills has a strong history of teaching, both in NYC and around the country. She has taught at such places as Trisha Brown Studios, Dance New Amsterdam and ACDFA. Tiffany also teaches annually at Conduit, Inc. in Portland, OR, and has taught as a guest at Velocity Dance Center, Seattle, WA. She has a loyal following of students, who return for Tiffany's classes, as well as the Tiffany Mills Company Annual Summer Workshop. (And, the Annual Workshop has been so successful that the Company is adding its first Fall Weekend Workshop this November!) Here are reflections of two of Tiffany's previous students:

After a long search I found a job teaching middle school and high school way out in San Diego CA. So, in trying to help the school run and further develop their dance program, I've really been forced to get back into the dancing mindset that I haven't fully experienced since college. In college I always enjoyed dancing, but never really felt like I belonged or even really was a 'dancer'. That is, except when I was working with you. Your work always felt 'right' to me. It clicked, it was something I felt like I enjoyed exploring and pushing the limits on. I was always inspired by the way you talked about movement and the body. And I've been reflecting back on that a lot. I'm trying to teach like you, and I hope to have my students leave class the same way you always made me feel--challenged and inspired.

-- Robert Wagner, Tiffany Mills' Student

The artists in Tiffany Mills Company are such generous and insightful teachers: imparting energy, talent, and wisdom...all while deeply engaging with the students: feeling, intuitively, what students need and where to go next. 

In addition to this generosity of experience, I also appreciate the TMC generosity of in-experience: specifically, the dancers' willingness to reveal their own incomplete processes, on the partnering-technique journey. For example, sharing aspects of the pelvis still not completely understood; or outside research they've been working on; or movement/ideas they are still investigating. Such emphasis on the continual learning process, plus the open vulnerability from the artists themselves: this gives all participants the permission to be "in-progress" along with them. Hence the exercise, "come as you are", which I love so much!

I've never felt so comfortable in a partnering classroom than I do with TMC. Thank you for creating such a beautiful, sharing forum for dance artists, at ANY stage in their partnering-technique development. We all have wisdom to share, and yet, we all have naiveté as well. Naiveté is essential to curiosity...which then leads to discovery. And in a TMC classroom, it's this combination of both that creates the magic. I feel my dancing quality has transformed thanks to the Partnering Workshops, and I would highly recommend TMC education to anyone and everyone!

-- Andrea Dispenziere, Tiffany Mills' Student

Monday, August 20, 2012


Tiffany Mills returned to Portland, OR this summer to teach at Conduit Dance, Inc.'s Summer Intensive. Tiffany and enthusiastic participants spent four days exploring the wonderful world of partnering. Everyone is looking forward to returning -- including Tiffany! Check out some photos from the showing on the last day of the intensive. Here's a response from one of the participants:

My new sense of collaboration; is a colliding of forces where effort can bring us something new. Places [in the dance] I wouldn't normally go on my own and places [in the dance] that are meant to be shared.

I left your workshop feeling and sensing more possibility, personally and collectively and seeing the dance everywhere. I am appreciating every inch of my body as a potential prompt waiting to be danced and waiting to connect.

Looking forward to the next time.....

Warmly, Lanie Bergin
Portland, OR 


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tiffany Mills Company Summer Workshop 2012

The Tiffany Mills Company is mid-stream in our Seventh Annual Summer Intensive. The exchange of energy and ideas is palatable as we investigate partnering technique and partnering composition. Here's what workshop participants are saying at the end of each day. Leave a response if you are so moved!

May 29, 2012

Workshop Day #1

Rediscovering freedom of movement.
Beautiful bold choices. Bravery.
Surprise shifting.
Visceral Bliss.
From chaos comes clarity.
Very inviting.
Open forum for idea exchange and experiential learning.
Pevlic Freedom.
Sharing of the body intelligence builds trust and opens to inspire growth. 
The unused surface area and volume of my body came out to play.
Sliding into the space between what you intend to do and what will happen in the moment.
Great to be in a room full of people feeling comfortable and safe (and respectful) enough to explore movement chore to chore involving cavities of head, torso and pelvis and any and all combinations thereof.
Enhancing the dance of solo as a group exploration. The support of a duet helping me soar.

May 30, 2012
Workshop Day #2

Hello pelvis!
Grab and let go.
Unknown to the known.
Enjoy the possibilities that you don't end up using. They help you find your way to more options.
Take off the lid!
Stay curious.
Moving a point within a cavity.

May 31, 2012
Workshop Day #3

Navel radiation into space as information and direction. Four destinations provide structured detours.
Small tools created such richness and fullness within the dance. They brought awareness so that freedom could be reached.
Opening my knowledge to the world of endless opportunity for contact.
Today bodies and air each found mass and each other.
Felt a refreshing sense of community and humanity through physical connection.
Facing my greatest fears and pushing past comfort levels...far, far, past comfort levels! Raw.
Spirals throughout the body, on the body, in the body.
Staying available to maintain/deepen connections.
This was so filling! I often can get drained giving and this fed back knowledge and energy and investment from all in room. Good stuff.
Allowing the point of contact to really direct -- channelling the rest of the body's energy into and out of that point.
Honoring my body, knowing it's okay to go gentle and still find just as many amazing possibilities.
Breaking habits, I can arch and open too!
I flew for the first time today! Thank you!
Much enjoyed the sense of teamwork (Round Robin) and equal explorative co-investigative partnership (duets). Very full and rich.

Reflections on Russia

Dinner after our successful performance

Moses, Megan and the technical crew

Dancers warming up before their performance

Dancers before their performance

Tiffany with Elena, the Festival Director 

The Tiffany Mills Company recently returned from our first international tour to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. What a fantastic opportunity to cross into a completely new culture and be so welcomed! See blog post earlier this month for my thoughts and responses. And, see below for the Company's reflections on Russia. ~Tiffany

I enjoyed meeting so many amazing people who wanted to share and connect through their passion for art; Krasnoyarsk is such a beautiful city. ~Emily (Dancer)
The eagerness and vitality of the dance community in Krasnoyarsk was remarkable. I can't wait to return to further our artistic dialogue! ~Kevin (Dancer)

Usually when I travel, I don't ever have expectations. (Sort of a fantasy come true to go to Siberia, which is an area most people will never travel to.) You can feel the layers of tension from the post-communistic regime slowly being pulled away. There is an electric charge. They are ready for revolution and radical change. So much creativity and support -- like a young layer of skin. The students, audience, and people of Krasnoyarsk were so welcoming and appreciative. I would love to go back! Also, some responses from Russian students (who seemed to relate to "Berries and Bulls" themes of isolation and struggle) were so insightful and articulate. ~Jeffrey (Dancer)

I was impressed both with what is now (compared to when I went to St Petersburg 20 years ago) available in the supermarkets and restaurants as well as in the (modern dance) studio and on stage! This small festival, almost single-handedly afforded and run by Elena, creates a unique opportunity to explore and share international cultural experiences. Russian modern dance is still young, but the dancers and choreographers have already absorbed so much and were very eager and open to learn the processes and discoveries we (from the West, where modern dance has been around a bit longer) brought to share. Thanks for having us :-) ~Petra (Dancer)

Who would've thought that In a million years I'd be in Kransnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia? Not Me. And who would've thought that I'd be the only person of color within a 1000 miles of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia? ME!!! Over all I had a great time. The festival was fantastic and I made some new friends. Thanks for letting me "tag along". ~Moses (Technical Director and Stage Manager)

The enthusiasm of the students in the class was amazing. The experience of working with an international group of people opened a new way of seeing and experiencing dance, in and out of performance. Sharing the work of Tiffany Mills Company with new people was so rewarding. ~Megan (Company Manager and Sound Operator)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spasiba (Thank You) Russia!

 Almost there! At Moscow airport on our way to Siberia (A 24 hour trip)...

The whole Company after our performance!

 Last Day of Class in Krasnoyarsk.

Our tour to the "International Festival of Contemporary Dance - Isadora", was a complete success! We were greeted with enormous enthusiasm by eager students ready to learn. Daily Tiffany taught partnering classes assisted by the Company. Our performance of "Berries and Bulls" capped it all off. Here's a run down on our Siberian adventure:

--During Dress Rehearsal on Sunday a cat walked onto the stage! Given that we were working with a Russian speaking tech crew and theater we were navigating a whole new terrain. (Our TMC crew -- Moses on Lights and Megan on Sound -- were fantastic!)

--Despite language differences, "Berries and Bulls" brought laughter and clear emotional response. All the dancers -- Jeffrey, Petra, Emily and Kevin -- performed with strength and resilience with a 12 hour time difference!

--People yelled "Bravo" after our performance in a 600 seat theater. All Festival students as well as community members were engaged in what was very new and different for them. (Most have not seen dance/theater.)

--The day after our performance in class, students commented on what they saw: how touch gives us information, the importance of flight, and how relationships reveal human vulnerability. We were amazed and touched to hear how our work translated across language and culture. We can't wait to return to our new sister city!

Monday, April 23, 2012

We're going to Russia!

The Tiffany Mills Company is so excited for our first Eurasian tour! We are packing our bags with warm coats and long underwear, as we prepare for a Siberian winter snow storm in April. As we are about to depart to perform at the International Festival of Contemporary Dance -- Isadora, in Krasnoyarsk, the Company is anticipating new sights, smells and sounds. We are honored to perform "Berries and Bulls", teach classes at the Festival, and learn about dance in another part of the world. Here's what our dancers have to say as we step on an airplane. Warmly, Tiffany

"I'm looking forward to experiencing the culture 'shock', the sound of unfamiliar language, unique colors and architecture. SIBERIA!"  ~ Emily

"I can't wait to experience and be inspired by the 'Eurasian aesthetic' in dance and beyond! Whoo Russia!" ~ Kevin

"I'm excited to experience Russia through the arts, dance and movement - connecting culture, expressing creativity across oceans and mountains. We are all one." ~ Jeffrey

"It's an honor to be invited to an international festival. It reminds me of 2 things: 1) that the idea of being able to travel as a dancer - dance being such an international language - was probably the deciding factor in helping me to decide to pursue a career in dance and 2) I visited Russia, then still USSR, whilst in ballet school, over 20 years ago - it will be interesting to see what has changed since those days. Great opportunity to share cross-culturally!" ~ Petra