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Research Guides

Chamber Dance Company Archive: Bebe Miller

A unique collection of video documenting the UW Chamber Dance Dance Company's over 25 year history of performing modern dance classics.

Bebe Miller

American dancer, choreographer, and company director

Just being out there as a black choreographer is a political statement.

                              Bebe Miller

Born New York City, September 20, 1950.

Bebe Miller began her dance training at the age of four when her mother took her to dance class at the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side. It was there that resident choreographer Murray Louis gave her a taste of the avant-garde language of his partner, Alwin Nikolais––in the same year that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to desegregate public school education. Nikolais and Louis, ". . . masters of theatrical wizardry, had a profound influence on Miller's aesthetic vision, one that is nearly as important as her experience as an urban African American coming of age in an era of enormous social change in America." Born in 1950, Miller grew up in the projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn, during a time of upheaval in the relationships between races and sexes. In much of her work, Miller attempts to seek out the truth––to hold "human experience up to the light" despite the discomfort it may cause. A collaboration with musician/composer Don Byron, Cantos Gordos (Fat Songs) exudes a witty, party-like atmosphere that is somewhat atypical for Miller's work.

Watch Bebe Miller's Cantos Gordos at the Media Arcade in Vol. 18 of the Chamber Dance Company Archive (DVD UWDP 001 v.18).