Tiffany Mills Company Puts the Final Touches on Homing
By: Paulanne Simmons
May 3, 2022: Tiffany Mills Company’s Homing, which celebrates the home through video, dance, music and spoken word, a work whose seeds were planted during the height of the pandemic and nurtured in workshops last May, has finally bloomed in its premiere this April as part of La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival.
Created by choreographer and company founder, Tiffany Mills, with contributions from company performers Jordan Morley, Nik Owens, Emily Pope and Mei Yamanaka; dramaturge Kay Cummings; videographer Theo Cote and composer Max Giteck Duykers, this is truly an ensemble piece. It is also a moving and truthful reflection of many people’s thoughts and feelings during these difficult and frustrating times.
“The pandemic brought up nostalgia and reflection in us all,” remembers Mills. But, she adds, soon the performers realized home does not mean the same thing to everyone. What’s more, our memories of home may have little to do with our actual homes. “We wanted to bring in the fantasy,” Cummings concludes.
Thus, the name they finally came up with, “Homing,” represents not only the home but also a focus on people, memories and what we do with those memories. In the last movement, newly revised, props are symbolically placed on a table and the performers decide what to take and what to leave.
“The performers asked themselves, what do we do with our memories, when do you start your life and leave your memories? There are no answers,” says Cummings.
The stories told in Homing are based on those recalled by the performers. However, in the production, performers may not be telling their own stories, and the stories may be somewhat different from the original. “All the stories are not necessarily true personally, but they are true,” Cummings explains.
At first, all the performers worked at home and shared their progress via Zoom. This, says Cummings, allowed them to go deeper and be more vulnerable. Framed by the Zoom box, the performers could also focus on different parts of their bodies. They liked this aspect of “homing” in so much they wanted to preserve it in Cote’s video and make it part of the final production.
“Max [Duykers] contributed another layer through music,” adds Mills. “He helped us let go of the text.”
Both Cummings and Mills agree that it was this open process that made the piece grow. “It’s amazing, when the process is open, what you discover about what you thought you already knew,” comments Cummings.
Future plans for Mills and her company include taking Homing on tour (a residency at Stockton Performing Arts Center at Stockton University in New Jersey is already scheduled), videotaping and editing the piece so it can have a “virtual life,” and of course, starting something new.
Photographer: Seven Pisano www.stevenpisano.photo (Copyright 2022)