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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Jamie Miller

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Jamie Miller (1942-1999) was an ethnic and modern dancer who performed and taught in the Bay Area for 30 years.  Born Jamie Rachel Miller on May 13, 1942, she lived for three years in New York City before the family moved to Los Angeles. From the ages of five to ten, Jamie studied modern dance, first with Lester Horton, and, briefly, with Bella Lewitzky. During high school she was a pupil of Gloria Newman, a Graham teacher.  After one year at Reed College, Jamie moved to the Bay Area and attended UC Berkeley. Some years later, she received her B.A. in physical education at San Francisco State College. 

Since 1965, Jamie performed and taught belly dance and creative movement in the Bay Area. Her classes at the New Dance Workshop attracted many students, many of whom went on to perform and teach. Jamie formed the first  of several troupes in 1973. She organized and gave concerts, primarily at Berkeley Moving Arts where she had become a partner. Beginning in 1976, Jamie created a series of solo pieces, “The Erotic Suite,” “The Goddess Suite,” and “The Core Suite.” These pieces were incorporated into “The Trilogy,” a three-evening concert she performed in 1981 and 1982.

As a dancer, Jamie had been involved in the community as a teacher, performer and participant in many benefit concerts. Her work with women in prison and as a substitute teacher reflected her deep commitment to sharing her knowledge, as well as her love of dance, with others. In September 1992, Jamie began to study for her teaching credential at Holy Names College. She continued to teach at Berkeley Moving Arts and recieved her teaching credential in 1994.  

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