Dancing Deep Into Matter: Choreographer Liz Lerman Questions The Particles Of Life
September 15, 2010
“Liz Lerman really brought this whole piece together so well, and we, the dancers, are feeling quite happy performing in it,” dancer Thomas Dwyer told me, following the premiere last week of “The Matter of Origins,” the dance-theater meditation on physics and life inspired by the choreographer’s visit to the particle-accelerating Large Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratory near Geneva.
After three years of work developing the piece, Lerman, Dwyer, and the rest of members of her Dance Exchange company should be feeling pretty good about the way things turned out.
In her Sept. 13 review in the Washington Post, dance critic Sarah Kaufman raved, “This hour-long contemplation of the universe is a work of expansive range, emotional depth and singular beauty,” Washington Post dance critic Sara Kaufman of “The Matter of Origins.” The headline cheered, “Liz Lerman Achieves Sublime Fusion of Art and Physics.”
The seventy-six-year old Dwyer, who took up dance in his 50s and is profiled in What Should I Do With The Rest Of My Life?, was particularly delighted with his duet with Martha Wittman, an elegant dancer who has been teaching, performing and choreographing for more than 50 years and was a long-time member of the Bennington College dance faculty. Together they illustrate the emotional equivalent of sub-atomic action and reaction. “Somehow she’s able to move with me in a way that makes it work,” said Dwyer, still a little astonished by what he has come to do with his life.
Here’s Liz Lerman, a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow, in conversation with Bill Dorland discussing the weighty questions her considerations of the atom-smashing meant to simulate the Big Bang provoked.
The company will perform “Matters of Origin” on Oct. 1 & 2 at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.