By ANGYE MORRISON
The ONE series is the brainchild of local theater legend Mical Whitaker, and so far, it has showcased fantastic singers.
But all that’s about to change.
Mathyn Miller, owner of Technique Dance Company, will be the first dancer and choreographer featured in the series.
“I have worked with Mical Whitaker for many years as a choreographer for some of his musicals he has directed,” Miller said. “So when I got the e-mail from him that he was choosing me for this season I was very humbled and excited to be chosen. He is such a wonderful person and talented director.”
Miller says she won’t be dancing the night of the performance herself, but she’s hard at work in the studio with her dancers. Putting the spotlight on her students is nothing new for Miller, but certainly new for the ONE series.
“I am showcasing my talent as a teacher and choreographer, and my students will be performing my choreography,” she said. She hopes to communicate to the audience, through their performance, who she is as a dancer and choreographer, and demonstrate her own unique style.
“I would also like to showcase my love and passion for dance,” she added.
Miller, who is 29, is a native of the Boro, and says she has never lived anywhere else.
“I love the small town feel of Statesboro,” she said. She graduated from Statesboro High in 2010.
Miller has studied at various dance schools in Statesboro and in Millen, and then went on to further her training at Kelly Creek Studios in Savannah. She started dance at 3 years old.
Miller’s love of dance is in her genes.
“I have two amazingly supportive parents, Kaye and Herb Miller, and I am an only child,” she said. “Dance has personally always kept me close with my parents because they have always been so involved, especially my mom. She was my dance teacher for so long, and my dad was always helping build props, or running music and lights for her recitals.”
Miller has a great-uncle, Bart Caroll, who she says was a huge inspiration for her as well.
“He was a professional dancer on television and movies throughout the 50s and 60s and was even in the movie ‘Mame’ with Lucille Ball, and has danced with many huge names in the industry such as Mitzi Gaynor, Cyd Charisse and Liza Minelli to name a few,” she said.
Growing up in the dance industry, Miller says she always knew she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her mom owned dance schools in Millen and Waynesboro.
“I always knew I wanted to own my own dance school one day. It was just a matter of timing of when that would actually be. I had been teaching for four years at Statesboro Youth Ballet when I decided it was time to go ahead and take the leap, and create my own dance company,” she said. She has owned Technique for almost five years, and says she can’t imagine herself in any other career.
“I don't think I would know what to do without dance in my life. I teach dance because it is my passion and I want to be able to instill that same passion and love for dance in my students,” she said.
Miller says that dance has always been an outlet for her.
“It has always given me such joy and happiness. It has always given me the opportunity to express myself through art. Each and every time I stepped on stage I forgot about everything else, I was always just in that moment of performing and feeling free. I feel like with each and every performance I grew as a dancer. As a dancer you are learning and growing with every performance opportunity and finding ways to improve,” she said.
She tries to pass on that passion for dance to her students. She often tells her students to work hard and chase their passions and dreams.
“If dance is something you always want to do in life, don’t give up. I always tell my students when they step on that stage, to give it their all and just have fun, and show their love and passion through dance,” she says.
Teaching has helped Miller grow, both in her craft and personally.
“I get to develop these close bonds with my dancers and watch them grow and succeed in life inside and outside of the studio,” she said. “It is such a wonderful feeling.”
Miller says her strengths as a dancer have always been in doing turns, like pirouettes and fouette turns, and in choreography. She finds it easy to pick up and memorize choreography quickly.
Now that she spends most of her time in the dance studio teaching, she says she struggles with tending to overthink the choreography.
“As a choreographer, I do not pre-choreograph anything. I always make everything up on the spot with the music playing to let it flow naturally. So sometimes, I struggle with getting stuck sometimes and I have to remember to just feel it and not overthink it. Even when I choreographed ‘Chicago’ the musical at Georgia Southern with Lisa Abott, I choreographed about 15 routines on the spot without pre-planning,” she said.
Miller says that when she’s not in the studio, she’s a “bit of a nerd.”
“I like to play video games, read, go to Disney World when I can and, of course, play with my husky, Nova,” she said.
As for being asked to be part of the ONE series, Miller calls it surreal.
“I have worked really hard throughout my career to get to where I am today, and to see that hard work pay off with a show like this is extremely exciting and humbling, all at the same time,” she said.
Mathyn Miller and her dancers will take the stage at the Emma Kelly Theater April 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, with military and first-responder tickets set at $18. Students get in for $12. Call 912-212-5787 to purchase tickets.