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 Post subject: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2001 12:55 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
'Input Leads to Output.' By Kirsten Bodensteiner for The Washington Post<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Dancers are used to being told what to do, but choreographer Liz Lerman involves them in the creative process from the beginning. With everyone generating ideas, the choreography can be more interesting because it's not limited to one person's vision.<P>Lerman's diverse group of dancers, whose ages span five decades, has clearly benefited from the encouraging environment she provides. Saturday night at Joy of Motion's Jack Guidone Theater, seven members of Lerman's company presented exciting new choreography.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P> <A HREF="http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27554-2001Jan21.html" TARGET=_blank>http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27554-2001Jan21.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2001 11:04 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
Liz Lerman's work, using a multi-generational company, has always fascinated me. And apprarently, the work can be quite rigorous, regardless of the age of the individual dancer. Has anyone seen this group-I've only read about them and seen pictures.


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2001 6:41 am 
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From the Los Angeles Times - Lewis Segal:<P><B>Lerman's Ambitious 'Hallelujah' Lost in L.A.</B><P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Using a rented platform stage and uncomfortable temporary seating, the Skirball Cultural Center launched its Ahmanson Hall as a new performing space Saturday with Liz Lerman's multi-generational, multicultural, multidisciplinary dance-based epic "Hallelujah."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> <P><BR><A HREF="http://www.latimes.com/cgi-bin/slwebcli?DBLIST=lt01&DOCNUM=12057&DBPUB=20010212xTMTndtC&QDesc=Lerman%27s%20Ambitious%20%27Hallelujah%27%20Lost%20in%20L.A." TARGET=_blank>MORE...</A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 11:42 am 
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Location: San Diego, CA, USA
I performed as a student with Liz Lerman's company in a site-specific work at the Chicago Historical Society in 1995. "Room For Many More." It is true that her work is not easy to execute -- she has many older dancers working for her, "Dancers of the third age" as she calls them, and she makes no allowances for them - doesn't treat them as if they were incapable or unable to do what everyone else in the company was doing. The amount of artistry that she pulled from such a generationally diverse group of dancers (from high school students through middle age through the elder years) was astounding to me. Working with a senior citizen as a fellow performer, fellow mover, is at first nerve-wracking as you worry about breaking brittle bones, and then joyous: senior movers understand their bodies and potential much more than I did as a young college student.<P>I think more and more choreographers/companies are beginning to see the advantages of working with more mature/senior dancers, Liz Lerman certainly was the originator of an idea that I have not seen with such conviction elsewhere. She has also done a lot of field work on teaching senior citizens to take control of their movement potential and prolong their quality of life through dance. She wrote a very interesting text entitled "Teaching Dance To Senior Adults."<P>Beyond all that, Ms.Lerman is an exceptional person to work with. She, like the first quote, utilizes herself more as an orchestrator, and allows her dancers to create and contribute to the work as it changes and grows. Being a performer and being an observer are two different things however. I have never seen Liz Lerman's company from the audience and would be very interested to hear what people thought/think of her work.<P>tura


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 3:43 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
Tura---welcome!!!..what a delight to have a new member such as yourself with a wealth of experience! Liz Lerman is cool---in a society obsessed with youth, she continues to defy convention and feature older dancers, and younger dancers, too, of course! Neat! I wondered how she would be received in LA?...I think her company just performed there. If ever there was a subculture within the US which idolizes youth and beauty, it would be LA, no? I just wondered how a group such as Lerman's would be recieved in such a subculture!


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 3:54 pm 
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She is amazing! I saw her company when it was on tour in Cincinnati! The "dancers of the third age" are most remarkable and beautiful! I'm hoping to someday dance with her if only I have the opportunity! Image<P>------------------<BR><BR>"If it's self expression you are looking for the place for you is the analyst's couch" - Merce Cunningham


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 6:43 pm 
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Tura, your observations about working with senior adult dancers were fascinating. In all my experiences teaching and dancing after all these years, I've never come close to what you described. Ms. Lerman's work in inter-generational dance is truly groundbreaking; as us "baby-boomers" age, I feel that her work will become more widespread; maybe even "mainstream"!<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited February 15, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2001 6:54 pm 
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Tura-you mentioned that Liz Lerman is more of an "orchestrator" of movment, rather than a "choreographer". Can you elaborate on that?


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2001 8:53 am 
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Thanks for the question, trina. The idea of orchestrating rather than choreographing is something my peers and I talked a lot about in college. Liz Lerman, and other choreographers I have worked with such as Ellie Klopp and Deb Siegel allow much of the movement invention from their pieces to come from their dancers (minus a phrase here and there), and then instruct the dancers on where and how each piece of movement will appear in the piece. <P>Liz would put a group of us in a room and say, "see these tables and coatracks? Let's see what you can come up with using them and I'll be back to help you organize." (be mindful that we were in a site specific work that basically took audience members on a tour of the Chicago Historical Society while dances went on in each room they passed through). <P>I was at first frustrated with this type of choreography. At the same time, I began working with Ellie Klopp, who would have us create whole duets and tiny solos with certain parameters, then put all of our individual contributions together to make one dance piece. As I became more used to the style, however, I began to see how each choreographer allowed the dancer to work within their strong points and still be in the piece he/she saw in his/her head.<P>This goes along the same lines with choreographers who heavily utilize improv to create their work. Many choreographers (eg. Shirley Mordine) I have seen allow their dancers to improvise a duet or solo, etc, and then come back to help shape and put in their input as to how the movement should be executed. It's amazing to see a piece come together this way as long as the dancers get their due credit as "movement inventors."<P>The choreographer as orchestrator: bringing many prefab pieces of a dance together and arranging/redesigning in a way that is truly in their own style.<P>tura


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2001 11:00 am 
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Thanks Tura! Actually,even Martha Graham used to work in this way, apparently. I think it's "OK", as long as the dancers/improvisers get credit and acknowledgment. Which sometimes they do, sometimes they dont'.


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2001 3:59 pm 
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You know, I waver back and forth or whether it really is "ok." I guess this is why I use the word "orchestrator" because, in my opinion, a choreographer is someone who actually creates the movement that is presented in a piece. When 90% of the movement is made up by the dancers in the piece, no matter how much tweaking went into the order/clean up of the final product, the choreography is still by the dancers and not the choreographer.<P>I waver on the other side because I LOVE working this way, as a dancer. (not so much as a choreographer -- I'm too much of a control freak). By being an integral part of the creation of the piece, I think it allows the dancer to really become more of a true artist rather than a personification of paint for the choreographer to throw on the stage/canvas. I also don't believe that the pieces could ever come together in this collective environment without the overall vision of this one person who places it together so beautifully and tweaks the movement to her liking.<P>It's a wonderful way to create interesting theater, but I'm not truly sure if a "choreographer" has anything to do with it.<P>tura


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2001 4:55 pm 
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Interesting Tura that you should mention this issue. Maybe I'll start another thread about this. My husband, when we had our company together, LEAVING GROUND/DANCE, had some "issues" with this. He REFUSED to improvise in rehearsal, when I was choreographing a male duet with he and another dancer. He felt like it was my JOB to come up with the movement. And he's a very good improviser, too! Anyway, it was kind of embarrassing for us to disagree in the middle of rehearsal, in front of other dancers! One of those "unfun" times of working together. ..oh well.


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2001 5:18 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Image <P>More on Liz Lerman:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Hallelujah -- In praise of Liz Lerman</B><P>Sara Wolf, LA Weekly<P>Liz Lerman likes to ask questions. Over breakfast at Junior’s Restaurant last November, the choreographer and community activist pondered, “What is the role of the professional artist in the life of the community? Who gets to dance? Where do they dance? Who cares that they dance?”<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.laweekly.com/ink/01/12/dance-wolf.shtml" TARGET=_blank><B>More</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2001 5:36 pm 
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Don't have time at the moment to read the article. But I L-O-V-E that photo!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Liz Lerman
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2001 6:47 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
For more photos, go to to the <A HREF="http://www.danceexchange.org" TARGET=_blank><B>Liz Lerman Dance Exchange website</B></A>.


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