Professor Gill Miller retires
Having attended Denison as a student, Professor Emeritus of Dance Gill Wright Miller has had a flourishing full-time presence at the university since 1981. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance in 1974, Gill taught briefy as a guest artist before leaving The Hill to earn her Master of Arts in movement studies from Wesleyan University, followed by a Ph.D. in dance education and women’s studies from New York University. She returned to Granville in the early 1980s when a newly named department chair who had requested a year’s delay on her pending contract subsequently declined the offer, which positioned Gill as a natural fit to be appointed the new chair.
Taking a chance on a modern dance class as an undergraduate at Denison, Gill discovered and fell in love with dance notation, seeing the parallels between its planar geometry and her concurrent coursework in mathematics. In this way, she gained a first-hand appreciation for the unique liberal arts depth offered through the study of dance, crediting this approach with feeling thoroughly prepared to pursue her career in dance, movement analysis, and somatics.
Extending her Denison students a similarly integrated exploration, Gill often brought forth interdisciplinary courses, especially those that ventured into women & gender studies and aesthetic philosophies. While providing a broad examination of dance and related cultural studies, topics also included modernism and postmodernism, the body in performance, and African American concert dance. Whether through the content and methodologies taught or in the discipline of learning something new, she routinely encouraged those in her classes to take risks, remain playful, and investigate further with as much energy as possible.
Gill’s personal research continues to engage topics of somatic (experiential) exploration, for which she has received notable grants and recently was granted her Registered Somatic Movement Educator certification. She is a published author of several books and many essays, writing on feminism and somatic praxis, creativity and women in dance, and motherhood, among other themes. In retirement, Gill plans to complete a current book project, continue her study of the Spanish language, and enjoy the company of her children and grandchildren.