Gallim Dance in I Can See Myself in Your Pupil, photo by Christopher Duggan
Gallim is a fitting name for the dance company that Andrea Miller formed in 2006. It means “waves” in Hebrew, and Gallim Dance is making lots of them in the dance world. Their performance of I Can See Myself in Your Pupil on Sunday evening, as part of their current season at the Joyce SoHo, displayed Miller’s immense choreographic talent and the company’s ability to explore the beautiful and grotesque through extreme physicality and raw emotion.
I Can See Myself in Your Pupil is a collection of excerpts from Miller’s previous works that have been reworked and seamlessly woven together to create a one-hour piece. Ohad Naharin, with whom Miller studied while she danced in the Batsheva Ensemble, used the dance-compilation format in his evening-length Decadance to great effect. For Miller to make such a piece, considering that Gallim was only founded in 2006, is ambitious. Naharin’s influence is certainly felt in Pupil, but Miller has a unique voice and style that is clearly her own. Her movement is fierce and brutally honest in a way that is rarely seen, especially in an intimate theater where the audience is just feet away from the performers.
photo by Christopher Duggan
Several clustered dancers jump rhythmically to the “ooh!” and “aah!” of a Chris Clark song, creating a simple and humorous opening. The piece continues with a silent, meditative duet involving synchronized floor work followed by individual movement for two women. As Pupil progresses, it grows increasingly powerful and explosive but is always balanced by controlled, introspective moments. Perhaps the most intense and anguished excerpt is from Snow: four women (Miller, Jessica Lee Keller, Troy Ogilvie, and Francesca Romo) urgently leap and fall to the floor to the sounds of Tony Gatlif’s menacing score, which screams “It’s an emergency….an emergency, emergency!” After intermission, the piece immediately picks up right where it left off to the sounds of Balkan Beat Box. Several dancers form a line and shake uncontrollably, and in a quirky duet, Romo crazily throws herself at Jason Fordham while he struts about looking very pleased with himself. The entire cast is superb, but Romo stands out for her ability to completely immerse herself in the movement – whether it’s dangerously athletic, graceful, or eccentric – while captivating the audience and making them a part of her journey.
Francesca Romo and Jason Fordham, photo by Christopher Duggan
Gallim Dance at the Joyce SoHo will continue through Sunday, January 18th with performances of Miller’s Blush. Order tickets online or call 212-242-0800.