Joan Miller was a dancer, teacher and enduring presence on New York’s modern dance scene since the 1970s. Born in Harlem, she received degrees from Brooklyn College and Teachers College, with further studies at Juilliard and independently with José Limón and Doris Humphrey. She performed with Limón and with the Judson Dance Theater, as well as with the companies of Anna Sokolow, Ruth Currier, and Rudy Perez. She was the founder of Joan Miller’s Dance Players and the founding director of the dance department at Lehman College of the City University of New York. One of the two works she presented on a 1975 shared program at the Pillow was the autobiographical Pass fe White
, its title a wordplay on the traditional ballet pas de deux. This was a typical Miller mashup of sensitive political issues and humor, incorporating a blond wig which she discards after a futile attempt at “passing for white.” After diabetes forced her retirement in 2007, she was honored with a gala performance organized by many former students and colleagues including Chuck Davis and Eleo Pomare. She died on March 23, 2014 in NYC, at 77.