P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2004
May 20, 2004
Hamilton's Popular Installation Becomes Site and Subject of New Liz Lerman Dance
(North Adams, Mass.) Choreographer Liz Lerman has a reputation for drawing inspiration from literature, personal experience, philosophy, and political and social commentary. She and the dance company she founded have become known for urgently asking questions like "Who gets to dance? Where is the dance happening? What is it about? Why does it matter?" in an attempt to challenge and redefine the social structure of dance. Now they turn their attention to a massive installation for inspiration presenting a brand new site-specific piece titled Body after Body, Place after Place: Dances in Gallery created especially for Ann Hamilton's corpus on display in MASS MoCA's football field-sized Building 5 Gallery on Sunday, June 20, at 2 P.M. and again at 5 P.M. Lerman will also give a talk on the piece and her creative process on Friday, June 18, at 5:30 P.M. in the café area of MASS MoCA's lobby. "Rare are the times," Dance Magazine wrote of a past performance, "when an idea and its expression can move you so fiercely."
The performance will take place inside the gallery space where corpus is installed. For this work commissioned for one of MASS MoCA's most dramatic installation spaces, Hamilton, one of the world's great installation artists, has animated the volume of the space with dramatic sound effects, organza silk covering the windows, and sheets of paper that fall from the ceiling. Together these elements create an experience with deep emotional impact, different for every person who walks in the gallery. For Lerman's work, 40 members of the community will join her professional troupe performing in the vast space amidst the gently dropping paper.
Liz Lerman has been addressing audiences for decades about the nature of dance, its history and its future. As she put it in one such talk: "I think there was a time when people danced and the crops grew. I think they danced as a way to heal their children. I think they danced as a way to prepare for war – we know that because we know some of those dances. I think they danced when they had to examine complex questions that they couldn't answer any other way. I think that dance was a way to address the mysteries." In her 25-year career Lerman's work has been commissioned by the Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival, Dancing in the Street, BalletMet, and The Kennedy Center, among others. Her numerous awards include an American Choreographer Award, the American Jewish Congress "Golda" award, the first annual Pola Nirenska Award, and the Mayor's Art Award, and was she named Washingtonian Magazine's Washingtonian of the year. When creating The Shipyard Project, she directed and collaborated with The Music Hall in Portsmouth, N.H. She founded the Hallelujah Project, a multi-city tour involving communities in art-making and performing. Her work has been supported by Meet The Composer, American Festival Project, National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network Creation Fund, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, and others.
In 1975 Liz Lerman created Woman of the Clear Vision, a dance about her mother's death featuring professional dancers and residents of a Washington, D.C. senior center. Inspired by her work with the seniors, Lerman created the Dance Exchange in 1976 as a school. After three years, the Dance Exchange launched a 12-member performing and touring company, which quickly became known for innovative performances including Who's on First?, a playful meditation on the common ground between sports and art; Journey, an influential solo that combined spoken word with movement equivalents; and Fanfare, which featured 800 professional and community dancers on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. When touring, the Dance Exchange often combines performance with workshops and professional training which have become so in demand that the company has closed the doors of the school to focus on bringing the educational opportunities to the streets.
Tickets for Liz Lerman Dance Exchange's Body After Body, Place After Place: Dances in Gallery are $18 for adults, $13 for members, $9 for kids and students with ID. The ticket price includes gallery admission. Admission to the talk on Friday is free but reservations are required. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release