Thursday, September 27, 2012

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We were honored to create three works for the students in our outreach program and so proud to see them perform in the Girard College Spring Concert. The lower school students were amazing, rocking their modern and ballet dance techniques.

One high school student, who we’ve mentored as an independent study, displayed a solo piece of structured improvisation. He had come in with an idea and a lot of fear and working with Amanda gave him a way into figuring out how to express himself.
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Lastly was a fully integrated performance, in which the lower school students and an upper school soloist danced with live music from the upper school band. Such a production challenged the kids to stay focused and work together as one large community–conscientious of the entire picture rather than a series of solos or class exercises.

Screen shot 2014-05-13 at 12.57.46 PMIt was truly inspiring to watch the students come alive in performance and utilize what we practice in class. Natural leaders emerged and they guided each other in mediation, warm-ups, and run-throughs in preparation for the big stage. The self-directed stress-management skills they have learned will help them conquer fear and balance energy in all realms in the future.


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Thank you to the dance contestants from our 2014 fundraiser, SINco de MIRO: The Seventh Deadly Cinco!  Read more about the event here.





The Students performing in From The Spot…

We interviewed the students about their roles in our production, From The Spot Where We/You/I Stand (Stood), February 20-23. Learn more here.

4th Graders Jarrell, Damir, Jada, Fantasia, and Dajon are in their second year of Miller Rothlein’s outreach program at Girard College.

Here’s what they had to say!

Jarrell Battle

About the show: One or two people lead the crowd into the middle, then we’re standing still watching over their heads. Combining is like hugging without any arms.
Tell us about the process of learning and rehearsing: It’s like being inside a movie. It’s great. I like meeting the other performers. I’m excited to perform in front of lots of people.
Tell us about the MIRO class at Girard College: It’s good to work with Tobin and Amanda. I like class. First we meditate, then we do stretches, then we learn a dance move, then we mediate again. It’s for us to focus. We breath. It helps everybody focus.
More about Jarrell: I like to learn new stuff. I’m learning a lot from this. I also like video games and computers.

Damir Williams

About the show: I’m the builder. It the egg crates are flat or broken, I stack new ones on so they don’t fall. I’m not nervous. I find it satisfying to make sure that job gets done. It’s about responsibility, looking out for our friends, counting on each other.
Tell us about the process of learning and rehearsing: It’s hard but it’s fun for me. We did a little bit of dancing and acting. At first we had to act like kids and then we had to act like adults, and the adults acted like adults, then they changed to kids. It was funny.
Tell us about the MIRO class at Girard College: Tobin and Amanda are funny and smart. They’re fun to watch and play with. It’s awesome. I like when we dance. It’s fun. And free-for-all. It feels good.
More about Damir: When I grow up I want to be come a drummer and a scientist. I’d like to make music like my cousin. I like Rock music. I have a drum kit at home. I like science so I can make cures for people who are sick in the hospital so they can get better.

Jada Gorden

About the show: It’s fun. We balance on the egg crates without crushing them. And we’re standing still.
Tell us about the process of learning and rehearsing: It’s hard but fun. Someitmes it’s crowded, when we’re all on the egg crates at the same time. I like Tobin and Amanda.
Have you ever been in a performance before? I was in The Wizard of Oz in New York City.
More about Jada: I dance, write, and draw.

Fantasia Stone

About the show: We walk on the egg crates, keeping our balance. walk across them without falling, It’s like a circus.
Tell us about the process of learning and rehearsing: It’s important, cool, and fun. I like to learn new stuff. I’m the understudy. I have to be there. I’m responsible for it if a person can’t do it.
Tell us about the MIRO class at Girard College: It’s fun and Awesome. Tobin and Amanda are patient. They don’t rush us. They explain and understand.
More about Fantasia: I was in a film once, written by another student. I liked it. It was about wolves and rabbits. The wolves had to attack the rabbits. I was one of the wolves and I had to jump off the stairs and fall and kill myself. I’m glad you didn’t ask me my favorite color because people always ask kids that and it’s boring.

Dajon Wright

About the show: Some of our parts are mostly still, like a still life, standing on the stacks. Sometimes we work in slow motion. We all have some kind of part that we’re responsible for. It’s about expressing yourself. It’s about pose and structure.
Tell us about the process of learning and rehearsing: It’s fun and interesting.The most challenging thing for me is when we balance each other. Especially on the stacks. You’re scared about the other person, if you make them fall and they make you fall and you make them fall… it’s a lot of focusing. They taught us to bend our knees and then come back up, and tell the other person when we’re ready so they won’t fall. It’s teamwork. You want to make sure you have everything down. If you forget, you should ask someone and practice it with them. That’s better than keeping quiet about it. Sometimes, the adults dance as children and the children dance as adults and we laugh. It will be live. I’m excited. My family gets me hyped up!
Tell us about the MIRO class at Girard College: They teach us things we haven’t even heard of about dance. Different types of dance. We meditate. It’s calming. It takes everything off our mind and helps with dancing. We learn being slow and doing different things at different times, like being on your tippy toes, being on your heels, and doing different things with your arms.
More about Dajon: I like to sing and dance and play sports. I like gym and art. Once, in the Girard Spring Concert, we danced Gangum Style. That was my favorite. It was like a flash mob.



Paul Struck MIRO Spotlight

Paul Struck is a native of Pensacola Florida, where he began his dance training studying tap, jazz and theatre-dance, performing with many regional dance and theatre companies. Struck started his modern dance training at Pensacola Junior College studying the techniques of Doris Humphrey and Jose Limon. In 1984 he moved to Philadelphia to work with Danceteller, under the direction of Trina Collins, where he created numerous roles in original works combining modern dance and traditional theatre techniques. He performed and toured extensively with the company for thirteen years. Since that time, Struck has worked with several companies including Group Motion, Melanie Stewart Dance, SCRAP, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, and many local independent choreographers. Paul is a certified Movement Analyst using the theories of Rudolf Von Laban to create and enhance new work.

1999 saw the first collaboration between Paul Struck and Amanda Miller, a duet inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings for The Philadelphia Fringe Festival. In 2001 he and Tobin Rothlein, after working together at Group Motion, were commissioned by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to create a series of video and live performance vignettes for the internationally acclaimed Philadelphia Flower Show. The success of that performance garnered a second invitation for Mr. Struck to appear in the 2007 Flower show. Struck has been praised by local press as being among the best of Philadelphia’s modern character dancers. In recent years his attention has turned to creating floral fantasy costumes, which have been shown at Art in City Hall, and debuted annually at Henri David’s Halloween Ball. When not dancing, Struck works at his partner Henri David’s jewelry store, Halloween, where he and Henri David bring sparkle to everyday life.


Maggie Baker

Maggie Baker has been an active designer and member of the Philadelphia Theatre Community for the past seven years. She recently added a new challenge to her career as the Manager of Costume Fabrication for all Universal Orlando Parks including Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure featuring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Maggie had been resident costume designer for Inis Nua Theatre Company and other recent designs include: Dublin by Lamplight (Inis Nua), New Jerusalem (original and remount) The Liar, and Beauty Queen of Leenane – Lantern Theatre Company, Free Man of Color, Chicago and Dangerous Liasons (UArts), makeup design for In the Next Room (The Wilma Theatre), The Whipping Man (Arden Theater), and specialty costumes and wig assistance for Angels in America (The Wilma Theatre). She holds an MFA in Costume Design from Carnegie Mellon University.

Baker designed the costumes for Miller Rothlein’s recent production, Forbidden Creature Virgin Whore.
See more on her Facebook Page.



Above images: Maggie Baker and her sketches for the characters in Forbidden Creature Virgin Whore.




Pete M. Wyer composed the music in our current show Forbidden Creature Virgin Whore. The music has been selected from the albums, Machine For Living, Planet 49, Stories From The City At Night and others.

View Wyer’s Website

NEW: Preview the music from the show!  Wyer says “It answers the question “what does it sound like when an English composer sets an Italian song in German electronica style for an American audience?” In case you’ve ever wondered…”

Pete M. Wyer is a leading British composer who is known  for his orchestral scores, opera, choral, ballet and jazz works. Pete’s portfolio includes music for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Juilliard Academy, Royal Opera House, English National Ballet and the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as original work for BBC TV and BBC Radio Three.
His song for the Olympic Torch Ceremony in Coventry, with lyrics by Nick Walker, ’Out Of The Flame’ was performed to an audience of 20,000 on July 1st 2012. His one hour song cycle of poems by Charles Simic ‘The Invisible’ premiered at Roulette, Brooklyn on May 29th 2012 featuring Tom Buckner, baritone, Matthew Shipp, piano, Ralph Samuelson, shakuhachi, Kevin Norton, percussion with Pete playing classical guitar, synth and electronics. In 2011 he completed a four week Fellowship in Bogliasco, Italy, awarded by the Liguria Study Centre. His opera-in-development Numinous City was presented by American Opera Projects and performed at the Rubin Museum, New York in November 2011. In February 2011 he received a ‘Best Composer’ award for his orchestral score The Far Shore, at the Fringe Report awards. He is the Associate Composer to the Orchestra Of The Swan.
Pete is strongly drawn to storytelling and to innovative approaches that enable combinations of improvisation with scored music, electronics, found sounds and site-specific works. This has led to the creation of albums such as Stories From The City At Night for Thirsty Ear Records, operas and operatic works such as Cremenville, Numinous City, Johnny’s Midnight Goggles, 57 Hours In The House Of Culture and many others.


Kristin Kest Photo

Kristin Kest is serving as dramaturge for our current show Forbidden Creature Virgin Whore. She joined us in the studio and wrote a companion essay for the show.

Read Kest’s Bio.

See her work and more on her website.

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Read Kest’s Essay on Forbidden Creature Virgin Whore.

Together, Amanda Miller and Kristin Kest researched and dialogued about how female characters are presented in the dance and fiction/fairy tale genres. “As a dancer, coming from the classical ballet world, I grew up in an environment that not only keeps its women in a place of childhood – we were called girls while the men were called men – but also contributes to the princess fantasy by continuously presenting works about fairies and creatures and young women who need men to break a spell or save them from some sort of terrible fate,” said Miller. “When I first saw Kristin Kest’s work I was immediately moved by her presentation of female characters in fantasy fiction, especially in her presentation of our classic fairy tales told to us as children. Without re-writing the text, Kest was able to present these characters in a contemporary setting, with contemporary skills and thoughts and actions that do not necessarily change the story but give us a new perspective in viewing the tale.”

Kest and Miller in the studio

Kest Illustration


Above images: Kristin Kest in May, 2013, Kest and Miller in the studio, and illustration by Kest.