March 10: Performing the Private Body

Where: Olin 130

When: Tuesday, March 10, 7:30 PM

Gill Wright Miller, Ph.D., an Arnold Visiting Professor of Dance, who calls herself a product of the late 1960s and early 1970s art scene, will give a free lecture, titled “Performing the Private Body.” The lecture is March 10, 7:30 p.m. in Olin Hall, Room 130 on the Whitman campus.

Miller, first trained as an elite gymnast, says she fell in love with the conceptual side of dance rather than the technical virtuosity of it – due in large part to her study of dance in undergraduate school.  After her physical dance training, she studied and became certified in movement analysis and somatics, and now uses these methodologies to scrutinize choreography.  “Not piece by piece,” she says, “but by looking at groups of works to see how they do or could function in a culture.”  

The lecture will be divided into two parts:  The first will trace dance’s 100-year-long survival as an art form in academe.  “It’s often the case that people are unaware of the theoretical work dance can do, so I want to make that explicit,” she said.  The second part will present a section of her current work exploring what it means to identify private events in a public arena.  In a body of dance work performed by visibly pregnant performers, for example, Miller contends the audience is invited to engage with a larger discussion confronting the unexpected body.  “This work has value in more sensitive situations, but we can come to it through the art form of dance performance.” To confront the public/private tension, she deconstructs Mulvey’s gaze theory, de Lauretis “on-stage/ off-stage” theory, and the more recent performance theories of “presence” and “absence.”

Miller holds a bachelor of fine arts in dance performance from Denison University; a master’s degree in movement studies from Wesleyan University; and a Ph.D. in dance and women’s studies from New York University.  She has published extensively on concepts related to the material body and somatics, particularly in what she calls the performance of the “everyday.”

For more information, reach Miller at or 522-4441.