The Choreography of New Dances: Jessica Miller Tomlinson and Big Technique

Jessica Miller Tomlinson (photo by Cheryl Mann, courtesy of Thodos Dance Chicago

Jessica Miller Tomlinson was working with Melissa Thodos once when Thodos, while rehearsing a section in one of her works, said "Jess, give me your big technique." If that's a unique way to find the title (and inspiration) for a choreographic work, even more unique is the adventure that Jessica Miller Tomlinson is able to conjure from it. Imagine what can happen when Miller Tomlinson (whose recent independent production with Jacqueline Stewart JMT/JLS featured one inspiring display of artistic confidence after another) does a study dedicated to confidence in art. A remarkable subject for most choreographers to undertake, but Jessica Miller Tomlinson always seems to address subjects that only her uniquely inspired view of the world could imagine, and in "Big Technique" she imagines an inspired tour of the World of Artistic Confidence.

"Big Technique" has a big ending, and normally it would be a very dubious thing to give away the ending of anything. In the case of "Big Technique", though, it's probably all right, because the big ending is at the very beginning --- the piece opens with the finale from Swan Lake. Well, not the actual classical ballet finale, but the full all-out triumphal musical finale, and that's just the beginning. From there the score moves through a number of classical works, except that, because they're interwoven with a legendary funk bassline, the journey is into brand new territory. It's rowdy, visually intoxicating, and presents a beguilingly dynamic architecture. It's also a thesis in movement about how confidence, belief and ability are combined in the alchemy of successful artistic effort.

Having already described the ending that is the beginning of "Big Technique", it probably won't hurt to say that by the ending of the piece you may feel as if you could begin anything and make it successful. Maybe this is Jessica Miller Tomlinson's way of letting us in on the secret of how she always does just that.

For more information about Jessica Miller Tomlinson, check out the JMT/JLS Facebook Page as well as the Choreographer Profile.

Thodos Dance Chicago’s NEW DANCES 2010 will be presented July 16 and 17 at 8PM and on Sunday July 18 at 5PM at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60605. (312) 369-8330


Sharon Joyce Kung and "Just Before Now"
Brian Hare and "Temporary Proof"
Wade Schaaf and "Dancer, Net"
Jacqueline Stewart and "Jiffy Pop"
Joshua Manculich and "____versus____"
Danielle Scanlon and "Heart Strings"
Francisco Avina and Stephanie Martinez Bennitt and "Quieting the Clock"
Jeremy Blair and "2:00 AM, Delancy St."
Jessica Miller Tomlinson and "Big Technique"

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