1. How would you define your personal practice?
My personal practice is dance between research, experimentation, training or improvement (whether that’s strength, skill, active flexibility , resiliency etc), creative application and upkeep. My practice is in pursuit of being as fully embodied as I can for as long as possible. My whole artistic MO is “embodied storytelling” but in order to be an embodied actor/artist, I’ve learned one must also be an embodied human, and thus I practice a variety of approaches to stay physically healthy and creatively awake.

 

2. What turning points have you encountered on your movement journey?
I grew up dancing, but more for fun and shiny costumes than for technical development. Once I was in 8th grade, I began taking modern dance classes, which was where I was first exposed to contemporary forms of expressive dance that was neither purely technical nor flashy/performative. High school is where my imagination for using movement creatively began to take some shape. In college I spent a semester in London, where I saw aerial work in theatrical storytelling for the first time. We’ll call that “The Big Inspiration of 2005”, and that’s when my poetic imagination as a storyteller was fully ignited. In pursuit of being an embodied artist capable of such work, I began going to the gym and exercising in 2005. From 2006-2008 I pretty much exclusively “worked out” in gyms on equipment. In 2007 I became an NASM trainer. I took my first aerial class in 2008, where I discovered my “training” on machines in the gym (aesthetics based) didn’t translate to the holistic connectivity needed for aerial work. From 2008-2016 I pretty much exclusively trained in circus, dance and yoga contexts. In 2016 I became interested in FRC, after discovering that those training circles didn’t give me the tools to address a handful of my physical imbalances. Taking the FRC seminar in October 2016 completely changed the way I live in my body and prioritize my training efforts. Now I take a much more informed and strategic approach to movement.

3. What role has injury played in cultivating your current niche?
I wouldn’t say “injury” has been as defining for my interests as “frustratingly stubborn plateaus”. My niche is definitely based in helping people resolve the little frustrations that trick us into thinking we are forever limited.

4. Do you consider yourself a teacher? Why or why not?
I do, I am a teacher because I ask my clients/students questions to engage their critical thinking when I work with them. It is teaching because I offer general context and do my best to offer personal context as well. I need to work with people who allow themselves to make discoveries, and I facilitate those discoveries. I think that’s what good teaching is.

5. What has been your experience with physical education, both in the schooling system and sought out knowledge/ know-how elsewhere?
Well, I hated gym in elementary school. I had the classic overweight, balding, once-upon-a-time-maybe-30-years-ago-athletic kind of teacher, and we would do a different sport each month. My favorite was always the “obstacle course” which was a lot like parkour. I wasn’t very good at it but it was the most fun. Once I got to middle/high school I attempted “sports” (one sport, basketball) for 3 years, but I was pretty bad at it and not that inspired by it. From then on, during the required after-school sport time I either did the modern dance class I mentioned before (which also included Flamenco, African dance and sometimes Hip Hop) and theatre (which counted as an athletic fulfillment for some reason for the winter season). My childhood experience taught me (wrongly) that to be strong/fit one had to be a sports athlete, and thus I thought I was destined to not be strong/fit since I didn’t enjoy sports. It wasn’t until “The Big Inspiration of 2005” that I realized one could be strong, fit, AND artistic, thus I started a long path of self education, CPT/CEU certifications, circus education and a series of mentors who taught me from their own disciplines.

6. How do you involve your mind/ emotions into your physical routines?
I’m very sensitive and emotional by nature. My body holds on to emotional pain much more stubbornly than I’d like it to. Until recently I was very all or nothing in relationship to this. In other words, I would either train really really hard, ignoring a lot of those signals from my body until overuse/burnout, OR I would get way too scared of the signals in my body and under-train because of fear of injury. Thus I progressed very slowly. I have found more joy-based approaches to balance healing with growth, and now have a more forward moving and healthy relationship with training.

7. What are your personal aspirations regarding movement? How do you hope to find purpose and use in the skills you have built?
My goals are twofold. On a personal level, I want to be able to execute as heightened of a degree of embodied acrobatic expression as I can for as long as possible so that I can demonstrate my aesthetic in performance, direction or in teaching. On a larger level, I’m interested in creating and performing aerial/physical theatre that demonstrates a harmony between acrobatic skills and truthful heightened gesture, without compromising the health of the artists performing it. Eventually, I want to educate a new generation of movement artists that acrobatic skills, expressivity, truthful physical storytelling and health are not mutually exclusive goals. I’m working finding that balance with as much success as possible so I can walk the walk when that time comes.

8. How can people find/ contact you? Do you have a site or social media handle to share?
I have two instagrams and two websites. One for my personal work, and one for my partner project with Kendall Rileigh: Only Child Aerial Theatre.

Those are:
@nickimillergram
@onlychildaerial

www.nickimiller.com
www.onlychildaerialtheatre.com

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