Chicago - July, 2015

One of Ballet 5:8's two world premieres set to go onstage this September will be a work choreographed by Preston Miller, Ballet 5:8's first guest choreographer. Miller will be exploring concepts of judgement, mercy and grace in the new work, And Mercy. 

Miller is most recently known for his short film Enemy Within featuring an unlikely group of top performing artists - YouTube sensation Marquese Scott, New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck, former Alvin Ailey dancer Matthew Rushing, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Samantha Figgins. The film has been called "daring and appealing" by the Washington Post, while the NY Times said that "all four dancers spoke of the experience as pushing their art to new levels."

Miller is a Chicago native, with his early technical training coming from Randy Duncan and Anna Paskevska at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. He went on to attend and earn his degree in dance from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater/Fordham University B.F.A. program, where he became the first student to receive a concentration in choreography and dance. Miller currently serves as the Artistic Director of the United Artist Initiative and works as a choreographer in New York City. 

Miller's choreography has been performed by many companies including Grand Rapids Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and by members of New York City Ballet. In a May, 2013 article that appeared in the Grand Rapids Times regarding Miller's work on GRB, Miller talked about the challenge of setting his new work for the company in just four days. His approach? Create a framework and allow the dancers bring it to life: "I let them do them. The difference between ballerinas and modern dancers is that the ballerinas have a specific way of thinking...If you give that frame of mind a framework and then let it run loose, it can create some really beautiful things...”

Preston Miller works with Ballet 5:8 company artists (june, 2015)

Preston Miller works with Ballet 5:8 company artists (june, 2015)

This summer, Miller will have not four days, but three weeks to work with another round of ballerinas, Ballet 5:8's six company artists and two company apprentices. Miller's choreographic style - contemporary and athletic - will be a formidable challenge for Ballet 5:8's artists, typically dancing the company's classical and neoclassical repertoire. Still, the challenge is welcome one, and Ballet 5:8 is excited to add Miller's work to the diverse repertoire for the 2015-2016 season. We always like to say that we have something for everyone in the repertoire. Thanks to Miller's work, that claim is becoming more true than it ever has before.