Liz Lerman to share how she breaks rules

MIDDLEBURY — Liz Lerman is a national pioneer in defining ways that innovative art-making can be intrinsically linked to community-building and scholarly investigation, while her working process emphasizes research, translation among artistic media and intensive collaboration with dancers, scientists and communities. This interdisciplinary engagement will be at the heart of coming residency activities including several master classes and a lecture. Her lecture, “Making Rules, Breaking Rules,” will be held in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Dance Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 12:15 p.m.; and will be followed by a book signing. A full schedule of residency activities is available at
A diverse group of organizations has collaborated to bring Lerman as a guest to campus. Lerman is quoted as saying, “Ask a big enough question and you will need more than one discipline to answer it … (this) asserts that artistic practice, beautiful in its own right for making art, also provides a means for being active in the world.” Sponsors include the Dance Program, the Center for Careers and Internships, MiddCORE, The Professors of the Practice Program, The Committee on the Arts, The Community Engagement Office, The Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Academic Enrichment Fund.
Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance, and the 2014 Dance/USA Honor Award. A key aspect of her artistry is opening her process to various publics from shipbuilders to physicists, construction workers to ballerinas, resulting in both research and outcomes that are participatory, relevant, urgent and usable by others.
She founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and cultivated the company’s unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance until 2011. She was an artist-in-residence and visiting lecturer at Harvard University in 2011, the same year that she instigated the National Civil War Project. Her investigation of the impact of war on medicine, “Healing Wars,” premiered at Arena Stage in 2014. Other projects include the genre-twisting work “Blood Muscle Bone”with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Urban Bush Women; teaching her Critical Response Process around the world from the UK (Puppet Animation, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the London Sinfonietta, the Federation of Scottish Theatres) to Australia; and an online project called “The Treadmill Tapes: Ideas on the Move.”
In 2013 she curated Wesleyan University’s symposium “Innovations: Intersection of Art and Science,” bringing together teams of artists and scientists from North America to present their methods and findings. Her collection of essays, “Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer,” was published in 2011 by Wesleyan University Press and was released in paperback in 2014.

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