The Making Room—a collaboration between Bebe Miller and Susan Rethorst
February 21–24, 2018
New York Live Arts, 219 W 19th Street, New York City

A Review

The Making Room is a collaboration between Bebe Miller and Susan Rethorst with the goal of going beyond creating dances to opening doors and windows into the creative pro­cesses. They're actively looking for ways to communicate what they do

Bebe Miller and Susan Rethorst convene at Smitth College,
Northhampton, Massachusetts, January 17–20, 2017
and how they do it. Stealing from Myself and In a Rhythm came out of this project and were presented in a NYC premiere at New York Live Arts during February 21–24, 2018.

Disclaimer: Bebe Miller and I are friends from summer camp at Bearnstow, where I was introduced to modern dance and improvisation. When Ruth Grauert, Bearnstow director, asked me to write a review for Bearnstow Journal, I basi­cally said, “but I’m her friend, and I’m going to a dress rehearsal, how can I write an objective review?” Fortunately, there are professional reviewers such as Elizabeth Zimmer of The Village Voice who have written excellent descriptions of the performance, so I’m off the hook and can simply share with you some of what I saw, thought, and felt.

In the lobby of New York Live Arts, there were two screens showing videos of the dances in the making. Capturing the process is part of The Making Room project — you can see a growing amount of information about it online at There were three rolls of black carpeting with white writing, like a fluid blackboard. The rolls talked about experiences and readings that influenced Bebe Miller for In a Rhythm, including some from Bearnstow that I recognized.

Susan Rethorst: Stealing from Myself

Gregory Holt and Gabrielle Revlock in Stealing from Myself ~ Photo by Robert Altman (Click image to view slide show of more Robert Altman photos of this dance.)

When the dance started, all I knew was that Susan Rethorst had built a new dance from du­ets she created in the past. In part, I won­dered what the original dances were like. In part, I just enjoyed the new dance, which I thought might be about a college romance. Two stu­dents meet in the library (2 chairs, books, white floor, white light, silence). They study together (they bring the chairs close to­gether, they overlap books on the floor). They find com­mon dreams (splash of colored lights, emotional music). They fall in love (they leap across the floor together, they play together). They gently fall out of love and go back to be­ing two students in the silent library.

Gabrielle Revlock and Gregory Holt were a pleasure to watch. I liked the arrangements, timing, and use of space.

Bebe Miller Company: In a Rhythm

Trebien Pollard, Angie Hauser, Bronwen MacArthur, Michelle Boulé, and Sarah Gamblin in In a Rhythm ~ Photo by Robert Altman (Click image to view slide show of more Robert Altman photos of this dance.)

In a Rhythm is a layered dance. It started ca­sually, with dancers gathering together, warm­ing up, communicating with each other. Casual communication between dancers is one of the layers.

At several points, Bebe Miller read from notes, telling us about literary works and per­sonal experiences that influenced this particu­lar dance. She talked about syntax, about the way the authors choose and arrange words to communicate meaning. From the New York Live Arts event online blurb, I understood that she was “looking at the syntax of movement — how we apprehend meaning through the juxta­posed dynamics of action and context in time and space.” This verbal, intellectual communi­cation is another layer.

If writing reads well, I don’t notice the syntax. And that happened here. These dancers worked together seamlessly and beautifully. Movements, rhythms, arrange­ments, groupings were interesting, varied, and flowed from one to the other. I became caught up, and enjoyed it thor­oughly. In this layer, the communication was abstract, subliminal, joyful.

I wondered where the idea of the carpet rolls came from. The black carpet rolls in the lobby were echoed by gray and white carpet rolls on the dance floor — some rolled up, some opened — and carpet squares that the dancers wore at times. I liked the physical texture and visual design element they added, like visiting a friend’s apartment.

I recommend that you see dances from The Making Room if you have a chance — In a Rhythm is being performed in Seattle in March and in Chicago in April, 2018. Also, I encourage you to check out The Making Room portal, which is being fleshed out now at

—Janet Erickson, March 3, 2018

Selected related reviews:

• Elizabeth Zimmer reviewed the NYC premiere of The Making Room on February 21, 2018. Her review is packed with detail: “Bebe Miller and Susan Rethorst Re-Make Room for Contemporary American Dance” (2/23/2018).

• Richard Sanford gives a detailed preview of the world premiere of In a Rhythm in Columbus, OH, in December 2017: In a Rhythm world premiere in Columbus: “Bebe Miller’s Gripping, Evocative In a Rhythm at the Wexner Center” (12/1/2017).

• Benjamin Cassidy’s article focuses on syntax in In a Rhythm during the Bebe Miller Company’s residency at Jacob’s Pillow Dance in November 2017: “Bebe Miller Company: If you stay with it, you find it” (11/17/2017).,524913

Key company links:

• Bebe Miller Company: The Making Room,

• Photos and more review links on Facebook,

• The Making Room portal:

Program Credits:

The Making Room, NYC Premiere
New York Live Arts
219 W 19th Street, New York, NY 10011
February 21-24, 2018

Susan Rethorst: Stealing from Myself
Choreographer: Susan Rethorst
Dancers: Gabrielle Revlock and Gregory Holt

Bebe Miller Company: In a Rhythm
Choreographer: Bebe Miller
Dancers: Michelle Boulé, Christal Brown, Sarah Gamblin, Angie Hauser, Bronwen MacArthur, Bebe Miller, Trebien Pollard
Costumes: Liz Prince
Video Artist: Lily Skove
Project Manager: Lila Hurwitz