Peter Mills

Rachel Tess, early in the morning

Rachel Tess talks about the art and thinking behind her early-morning performance on Monday

Native Portland choreographer and performer Rachel Tess (currently splitting her time between Sweden and Portland) would like you to join her on Monday morning at 5:30 am at the The Pinnacle Pavilion on 1210 NW 10th Avenue for a walking/dancing exploration of a world that sleeps, choreographed by experimental choreographer Peter Mills. Bring a warm cup of coffee, a coat, an umbrella and your adventurous spirit. Message her ahead of time to let her know you are coming at

Tess is interested in developing performances unique to neighborhoods and urban spaces, collaborating with visual, musical, and theatrical artists and fostering community and promoting dialogue between community members, leaders and activists.

Tess trained at Oregon Ballet Theatre, earned her BFA at Juilliard where she received a Princess Grace Award in 2002, performed with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Gothenburg Opera Ballet and held a permanent position with the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm.

This is the place by Benoît Lachambre and Rachel Tess at Milvus Artistic Research Center in 2014. Photo by Darial Sneed.

‘This is the place’ by Benoît Lachambre and Rachel Tess at Milvus Artistic Research Center in 2014. Photo by Darial Sneed.

She has premiered her choreographic works in Stockholm, Montreal, New York City, Costa Rica, and Portland, Oregon. She was part of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2010 for her work as co-­director of Rumpus Room Dance in Portland.

In 2013, Tess received her masters in choreography from the New Performative Practices Master’s program at DOCH-School of Dance and Circus at the Stockholm University of the Arts. She won and completed a Princess Grace Foundation Works in Progress Residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City with her ongoing project Souvenir in 2013.

She is the director of Milvus Artistic Research Center in Kivik—a residency program in Sweden that sits on approximately 27 acres of farmland on the edge of Stenshuvud National Park in Kivik, Sweden. The center offers space to performing artists to create work. And she directs Rachel Tess Dance in Portland.

Peter Mills is a choreographer, dancer, performer, artist, activist, researcher, teacher and mentor. Peter has a masters in choreography from Dans och Cirkushögskolan, where he worked on choreography through documentation as an ethical practice, towards anti-authoritarian ideals.

Tess and Mills met at the University of Dance in Stockholm, immediately entering into critical debate and a lasting friendship and artistic partnership.

Over the holiday Tess and I corresponded via email, and she was kind enough to answer all of my questions. Here are those questions and answers.


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