Denise Miller’s career spans more than 30 years and includes a background in ballet, modern dance, and her passion, oriental belly dance. Her specialty styles are Turkish, Lebanese, Egyptian, and American Cabaret, in both the formal and folk styles of those cultures.
According to Denise, the full understanding of an art must be sought in the performance of that art, and she truly lives that philosophy. Her performances and choreography have been featured in programs at 7 different universities and colleges in the midwest including Indiana’s own Ball State and Purdue Universities. In addition, she’s performed at hundreds of ethnic gatherings, weddings, and festivals in the US and Turkey, as well as venues ranging from small ethnic restaurants to large dinner theaters.
Always looking to broaden her dancing experience and skill, Denise was a part of the Dayton, Ohio based modern dance company ‘Smag’. The company was respected in the dance community for their dynamic performances and challenging choreography.
Denise has also been the director of her own dance companies and productions over the years. Most notably ‘Sandstorm’ that presented a string of shows at the Schuster Center for the Performing Arts in Dayton, Ohio. The show was well received and brought the art of Middle Eastern dance to a broad audience.
Another of Denise’s companies called ‘Women in Dance’, featured many of the best known and accomplished dancers within the Dayton arts community. The goal of this company was to highlight and celebrate the contributions of these performers over their careers.
Last, she was the creator and director of a very popular company and show in Dayton entitled ‘Twisted Cabaret’. The Twisted Cabaret is a stark departure from Denise’s main body of work, being a burlesque-inspired show with a decidedly macabre vibe. But she found the change to be a great way to recharge her creative energy.
Denise credits many people that she’s been blessed to work with over the years for what she’s learned and has been able to accomplish. There are too many to list. Of special note is the late John Bilezikjian, beloved in Middle Eastern music circles for his musicianship and writing. John and Denise enjoyed a style of performance common in the Middle East whereby a lone dancer and musician would improvise, each playing off the other, to create something new and unique in front of an audience.
Denise now teaches oriental dance at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio, the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, and at workshops within the United States and in Turkey.