Beautiful Monsters


A fascination with the beauty and terror of dreams has been a lifelong one for Artistic Director Laura Gorenstein Miller, who grew up in a haunted house. Beautiful Monsters investigates the boundaries between our physical capacity and our imaginative ones. Dancing the deep desires of childhood, the work brings to life the furious abandon of a body transformed by magic and wings and a romance that defies human limitations. It is a dance born out of confrontation with childhood nightmares, in which becoming the monster is the only safety. Brought to life by seven dancers, director Chris Miller (Shrek the Third), and original music created by an acclaimed film composer. Created with support from the David and Ruth Coleman Foundation, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and Los Angeles County Arts Commission.


As I embark on the creation of Beautiful Monsters, my investigation into the dream world, and my retelling of the vampire myth that fascinated me as a child, I am reminded of how rich a source of inspiration and imagination dream life is. Beautiful Monsters is ripe territory to further explore the unique gender neutral partnering style which has driven much of my work: women to women, men to men, the women lifting the men in full physicality. At the core of much of my creative work is testing the limits of female strength and sensuality, rage and tenderness, exploring the power of the gender in personal ways within mythical situations.


The choice of artistic collaborators who work in the worlds of film and film score, animator Chris Miller (Director of Shrek The Third) and a film composer is a knowing nod to the prevalence of vampires in our pop culture, and of the connection between dream and film. Gorenstein Miller wants to use the force of their significant storytelling skills in mainstream media in the service of creating a personal world. The film animation will be used as a storytelling device, not simply as a design component. The work includes an additional component of a sound collage created from the voices of children telling their dreams. This will dovetail thematically with the educational outreach mission, so that audiences of all ages are able to see in the work the influences of other’s dream as well as my own. One of the goals with the work is to draw on resources uniquely available to Helios due to our Los Angles home base, and to showcase the particular blend of high art and mainstream storytelling that exists here in the service of creating a personal world. We are currently selecting a Los Angeles based fine artist, with the advice of the Hammer Museum’s curatorial staff, to design our backdrop.

« Repertoire