AU Press Releases

Brian Brooks Moving Company to present first performance at new theater

Alfred University will present a new piece by The Brian Brooks Moving Company for the opening of the new Miller Theater, part of the Miller Performing Arts Center.

The new theater will be dedicated Oct. 15, and the first performance open to the public will be held at 8 p.m. Oct. 16. The event is free of charge, but reservations are required; they may be made through the Performing Arts Division web site at or by calling the Division of Performing Arts box office at 607.871.2828.

The New York City-based contemporary dance group will perform choreographer Brian Brooks’ latest work, “MOTOR,” an hour-long piece for seven dancers, set to an original score by composer Jonathan Pratt.

The Brian Brooks Moving Company was selected for the opening performance of the new theater because of an enduring relationship with the dance company, which D. Chase Angier, director of AU’s dance program, first brought to campus in 2004, appropriately enough through the Marlin and Ginger Miller Dance Residency Program.

Marlin and Ginger Miller are the benefactors whose gifts have created the Miller Performing Arts Center at the University. The first phase of the center was opened in 1995. The second phase is the new $23 million building, which provides Alfred University’s Division of Performing Arts with a state-of-the-art theater.

The production of “MOTOR” will make full use of the new theater’s technical capabilities, Angier noted. Over two miles of cables will be stretched from the back of the stage to the farthest walls of the theater, creating a tunnel-like space that will encompass both audience and performers. Within the space, dancers will wrestle with themselves and one another in sequences that amplify the audience’s linear perceptions of time and experience, Angier explained.

Structuring informal movement in a formal way, Brooks builds each of the dancers’ movements off the previous one, creating a chain reaction that continues until the show’s end.

Pratt, who is an acclaimed composer in the dance community, explores the same notions of continuum and perpetual motion that represent computer/neurological mechanics, and the larger sequence of space time, according to Angier.

New York Times reviewer Gia Kourlas called “MOTOR” “potent… as if the dancers were somehow the light at the end of a tunnel.” The Times noted “Mr. Brooks is intrigued by the way repetition grows to create a machine of bodies,” and that “Pointing their elbows, the dancers etched ornate patterns onto the air with their arms and, later, hopped from one leg to the other in hypnotic shifts of weight.”

“MOTOR” was created, in part, with sponsorship of The Field, with support and funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Dianne and Daniel Vapnek Family Fund, as well as through residencies at Colorado’s Green Box Festival and the Mt. Tremper Arts Festival.

After its first successful residency at AU in 2004, Brian Brooks Moving Company returned in 2005, deepening the students’ connection to the company’s work through performances, workshops and dialogue.

In 2008, the dance company came back to Alfred, this time for an intensive two-week residency program that inspired Brooks to create his first dance film, “Rapid Still,” which catches the choreographer in an illusion of flight. The stop-motion video premiered at the Brooklyn Museum before being launched on YouTube, offering free and unlimited access to a dance work. “Rapid Still” has recently been licensed to the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education as a work-of-art under study for national and international educators.