Jacob’s Pillow just named Liz Lerman as recipient of this year’s Dance Award (which comes with a $25,000 cash prize). If you’ve never familiarized yourself with
Lerman’s work, now’s a great time to get acquainted with her particular brand of community engagement, creative research and interdisciplinary practice. Although she left the company she founded, Dance Exchange, in 2010, much of the work she created there remains synonymous with her multigenerational, research-driven style.
As she neared the final years spent with her company, Lerman created some really unique collaborations with orchestras, like this excerpt from
Man/Chair Dances. It’s site-specific dance in and around an orchestra:
This one’s probably my favorite: Lerman had the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra memorize the music to Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun,” and then gave each player choreography! The movement is supposed to evoke the sensory experience of a faun as he wakes from a nap.