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Dance history is filled with men and women bravely tackling weighty and challenging subject matter. I believe that if the artists are working from a place of authenticity, the work is easier.
Good intentions don't always make good work, but making work from personal experience means that the artist is giving a genuine perspective, and that's meaningful. As artists, we have to prove our relevance every day." -- Stephen Mills
“These are stories of courage,” Mills says after rehearsal. “It’s about the place that these people held in my heart and my history and what happened to me when they left my life.
For me in this context, these people came into my life, made it better, loved me, taught me things, but when they left, they took something really important from my heart and soul, not necessarily from my physical body.” -- Stephen Mills
For the choreographer sees in all three potent examples of courage, and he wanted to make that the foundation for this dance. The result is perhaps the most timely and surely the most personal dance that Stephen Mills has made in some time.
Courage is a quality that we should respect in everyone. Often we think about courage as these grand gestures – the courage of Churchill, you know? But courage in all sorts of increments is important, and examples of courage are happening around us all the time. -- Stephen Mills
EXIT WOUNDS is a work I would place within a social justice context. Much like Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, it revolves around stories of inspiration and determination.
I find it satisfying to work on projects that have a social relevance. Although there’s certainly relevance in simple beauty, there's something very gratifying about having the ability to use art to convene a conversation about things that are important in our contemporary lives. My hope is that EXIT WOUNDS will cause people to reflect upon times in their own lives when they witnessed acts of courage—no matter how small—and think about how they could be a force for good in our turbulent world." -- Stephen Mills
Each of the three portions of the ballet was capable of evoking personal memories in anyone who experienced it. For those who have not yet experienced an exit wound, the ballet presages what life will bring. Only those with courage will be able to face it with equanimity.
An audience member personally familiar with Stephen Mills work since the 1990s told me she was 'overwhelmed' by Exit Wounds, a creation 'unlike anything he has done before, and never on such a personal level'."