Tiffany Mills Company Premieres an evening of Dance at The Flea
By: Paulanne Simmons
October 31, 2019: Being an anchor partner at The Flea Theater has many advantages, says Tiffany Mills, choreographer and artistic director of the New York City-based Tiffany Mills Company. It means rehearsal space, assistance with marketing and development, and a performance venue. This season The Tiffany Mills Company will present Not then, not yet, an evening-length work that explores states of transition and transformation.
“It’s about liminality,” says Mills. “It’s about being in between, not in the past and not in the future.”
Not then, not yet, with dramaturgy by Mills’ longtime collaborator Kay Cummings, features original musical compositions by Puerto Rican composer Angelica Negrón and French vocalist/composer Muriel Louveau. Negron blends electro-acoustics with classical instrumentation and found sounds. Louveau mixes traditional sounds with made up ones.
All these artists were influenced by Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Mills believes Shelley’s life and work reflect her interest in the place between isolation and integration, sleep and wakefulness, creation and destruction. In Not then, not yet, Mills and her collaborators examine these dichotomies through a 21st century lens.
In this work internal landscapes coexist with external landscapes. Costume designer Pie-Chi Su has dressed the dancers in layers of jackets and vests, which they shed as the night progresses. Chairs are used as objects of comfort and support. They create obstacles and options. Mills’ raw and highly charged movements allow the dancers to navigate this surreal space.
Not then, not yet is about struggle, or as Mills would put it, “several individual journeys.” Although much of the work is dark, she believes the pieces all travel toward light – a comforting touch for an evening designed to take us out of our comfort zone.
Not then, not yet run Wednesday–Saturday, November 13–16, at 7pm at The Flea Theater, 20 Thomas Street (between Church Street and Broadway).
Photography: Susan Allen