During the pandemic Clara Miller stretched beyond dance to find another artistic voice.
Before the pandemic, Clara Miller had a secret that she kept from her dancing world at New York City Ballet. Well, the janitors knew.
After dance performances, she would seek out empty studios to rehearse. But she wasn’t dancing. Armed with her voice and a piano, she wrote and sang songs — sometimes, she recalled, did not raise her voice above a whisper.
Covers were part of her repertory, too. Once, she took advantage of a rehearsal piano left onstage at the David H. Koch Theater and sang “Dancing in the Dark” to an empty house. “It felt like I was playing for an audience of ghosts,” she said in a recent Zoom interview.
She would often take videos of herself performing; she didn’t know how to write down her compositions. But a question persisted: “I’d listen back and be like, ‘Is my brain just hearing my voice as good?’” she said. “‘Or am I actually bad and I just am not hearing it? Can I actually sing?’”
“It was like my hidden secret little passion,” she added, “that I wasn’t ready to share with anyone until I figured it out.”
She figured it out. She can sing.
Miller, 25 and a member of City Ballet since 2015, specializes in a blend of indie-folk and indie-rock with a voice — imploring, ethereal, lilting — that floats in a space of vulnerability. It feels exposed and tender, yet there is an underlying confidence, too: She knows she is spilling secrets. “Oath,” her debut EP was released this month. On Friday, she will be performing at the Bitter End. (She has been recording and appearing under the moniker Clanklin, but is going to start using her full name.)