Choreographer Liz Lerman to Speak in Frederick

May 4, 2011

Choreographer Liz Lerman will be speaking about her latest book at the Cultural Arts Center in downtown Frederick on Tuesday, May 17th at 7:00 p.m. Her visit is part of the Frederick Arts Council’s News & Notable Series, which provides an opportunity for authors to discuss their literary works with residents of the greater Frederick area.

Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker. Described by the Washington Post as “the source of an epochal revolution in the scope and purposes of dance art,” her dance/theater works have been seen throughout the United States and abroad. Her aesthetic approach spans the range from abstract to personal to political. She founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and has cultivated the company’s unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance. Lerman has been the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship. Her work has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival, and the Kennedy Center among many others. Her newest critically acclaimed work, The Matter of Origins, examines the question of beginnings through dance, media and innovative formats for conversation. Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, her new collection of essays, was recently published by Wesleyan University Press. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Milwaukee, Lerman attended Bennington College and Brandeis University, received her BA in dance from the University of Maryland, and an MA in dance from George Washington University. She is married to storyteller Jon Spelman. Their daughter Anna recently graduated from college.

In her gentle manifesto Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, Lerman describes methods and behaviors that bring ahorizontal focus to bear on the hierarchies that characterize our culture. She writes: “Imagine a long, upright line that runs from top to bottom. At the top is art so separate from the rest of culture that its greatness is measured in part by its uselessness. At the bottom is art so imbedded in its culture that no one thinks to call it art. Now imagine turning this line sideways to lay it horizontal. Of course, the line is not completely flat and the poles are not equal. If we are lucky enough, we can actually take the long highway between the sometimes opposing forces, discovering information that can feed our artistic impulses all along the way.”

Copies of Lerman’s book will be available for purchase and signing at the event, which is free and open to the public. The Cultural Arts Center is located at 15 W. Patrick Street.

The Frederick Arts Council has hosted various authors over the past several years, including Actor Mike Farrell, Cookbook author Warren Brown, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and many others. Topics range from politics and history to sports and pop culture. For more information, call the Frederick Arts Council at 301-662-4190.