CORE Performance Company Goes Organic with The Liberated Accident

CORE Performance Company in The Liberated Accident - Photo by John Ramspott

CORE Performance Company in The Liberated Accident – Photo by John Ramspott

Amanda K. Miller-Fasshauer always hopes for a very organic process when making art.

Her medium is movement. She is a choreographer and a dancer, but sees herself very much like a gardener.

“I plant the seeds: poetry, ideas, music, wishes, and then watch it grow. And, like a gardener, I tend to it meticulously, care for it, water it, nourish it, weed it, but know it needs its own timing. Even though I may plant sunflowers, each sunflower will be its own unique plant.”

Commissioned by and in collaboration with CORE Performance Company, Miller-Fasshauer has grown a new work, The Liberated Accident, An Evening in Three Chapters, which comes to Houston November 7, 8 and 9 and will be presented at The Barn.

Coincidentally, CORE director, Sue Schroeder first encountered Miller-Fasshauer’s work upon invitation by the German government to come and see contemporary German Dance with the hope that she might help them export it to the United States.

Schroeder recalls, “Amanda was on one of the programs with her first public appearance for Pretty Ugly Dance Company,” the inter-disciplinary performing ensemble Miller-Fasshauer founded in 1992.

CORE Performance Company in The Liberated Accident - Photo by John Ramspott

CORE Performance Company in The Liberated Accident – Photo by John Ramspott

Though born and raised in North Carolina, Miller-Fasshauer has spent over 30 years based in Germany with many tours, residencies, and experiences working and creating abroad. In addition to establishing Pretty Ugly Dance Company, she has developed an improvisational dance group in Matsuyama, Japan, and in India launched “Art for Tibet,” an aid organization supporting Tibetans in exile.

In 2009, she let go of her company and her life abroad, and returned to North Carolina to be with her mother, who died unexpectedly soon after. “Luckily, I was taken in by personal family friends and also my dancing family,” says Miller-Fasshauer. “It was very hard, but also a new adventure in the world of dance, and I was much closer to my immediate family, which made me very happy.”

While “figuring out how to be back in America,” Miller-Fasshauer has focused on working with University students at the American Dance Festival (ADF), and at Hollins University. The Liberated Accident is her first work created with and for an American dance company.

She observes that support of the arts is seen as a less fundamental way of life in America than in Europe and abroad, something that has increased the challenge of her transition stateside. “I am very happy to be back in the U.S., but it has not been smooth sailing and I did spend more than half my life over the ocean, so I am a bit of a hybrid with a different point of view and observations,” she elaborates.

Not completely comfortable with the implications of words like ‘performance’ and ‘setting work’, Miller-Fasshauer explains why this conventional terminology doesn’t exactly apply to her creative process.

“Dance is movement and very alive, and it is the individual’s body and mind which are moving and making choices each second as they are shifting space and creating a space to be shared. So, if something is set, it does not really allow for something to be organic,” Miller-Fasshauer explains.

Rather than creating a work and moving onward as many commissioned choreographers might, Miller-Fasshauer is making the journey

CORE Performance Company in The Liberated Accident - Photo by John Ramspott

CORE Performance Company in The Liberated Accident – Photo by John Ramspott

forward with the dancers and the dance, appearing in The Liberated Accident each evening. “Sometimes, I wish to be with my garden of dancers and support them as they grow,” she affirms.

This investment in the creative process and the inclusion of company members in that process is exactly why artistic director, Sue Schroeder, invited Miller-Fasshauer to work with CORE.

“With all of CORE’s commissions, I am interested in offering a new point of view or challenge for the artists of CORE Performance Company via the artistic process of the artist we commission. Amanda’s ‘9-point’ process [a Laban-based approach to establishing movement vocabulary], as well as her German/European influence made for a unique fit for CORE.”

Previews exist to give potential audiences a taste of what they might expect from The Liberated Accident, Miller-Fasshauer’s style of dance-making seems to resist the notion. Of her process, she says, “I try very much not to have expectations, because I wish for the others not to have expectations. Then there is more freedom.”

Indeed, The Liberated Accident, which premiered last spring as part of the Tanz Farm series at the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, was described as “delightfully open to ephemerality, happenstance and the environment,” by ArtsATL. During opening night of that engagement, dancers responded to a passing train by rushing to greet and wave to it through one of the building’s many windows.

CORE Performance Company in The Liberated Accident - Photo by John Ramspott

CORE Performance Company in The Liberated Accident – Photo by John Ramspott

As audience members, you might anticipate (not expect) to share a fresh experience with CORE Performance Company and Miller-Fasshauer, who expresses, “I like to take us to the point of being in the moment so the audience and dancers are experiencing a real moment in time.”

Despite having begun last season with a new roster of dancers, you might also anticipate the high quality of ensemble performance typical of CORE. According to Schroeder, “This group of artists is the most generous that has ever graced CORE Performance Company. They are mature, almost egoless and very committed to the art that we are making.”

…Or, growing; one moment at a time.

About the Author

Nichelle Suzanne is a web and social media specialist for Rice University and the founder of For 10 years, she has covered dance in Houston and beyond for publications such as the Dance Dish, Arts+Culture Texas, CultureMap, and the NYC Rockettes blog at

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *