we heal, age, procreate and eat may soon change because of genetic research
happening right now. The world premiere of renowned choreographer Liz
Lerman’s “Ferocious Beauty: Genome” explores this moment of revelation and
questioning in an arresting theatrical work that combines movement, music,
text and film.
world premier of “Ferocious Beauty: Genome” took place Feb.
3 and Feb. 4, in the Center for the Arts Theater.
piece is the result of an unprecedented partnership with scientists and
ethicists to confront the promise and threat of a new biological age.
the past three years, the CFA and Wesleyan faculty have partnered with the
Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, led by Liz Lerman, to explore the ethical and
social repercussions of genetic research. The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange is a
professional company of dance artists that creates, performs, teaches, and
engages people in making art.
Through relationships with Wesleyan’s science faculty and students, Wesleyan
served as a “laboratory” for Lerman’s development of the piece. This
collaboration reflects both the Dance Exchange’s and Wesleyan’s emphasis on
interdisciplinary learning, as the project has initiated an unprecedented
dialogue between scientists and artists. The outcome will be represented
through a plurality of viewpoints, mirroring a dialogue among multiple
voices—artistic, scientific and scholarly—in their varied perspectives.
Wesleyan provided extensive information, assistance and feedback in helping
Lerman to create the piece.
“The piece took a conceptual turn several times because of the contributions
from the scientists at Wesleyan,” Lerman says. “And, the fact that one of
the scientists is a dancer made the leap between the two disciplines
partnership with Wesleyan has also resulted in the most comprehensive
residency ever undertaken by a dance company at Wesleyan. Lerman joined
Wesleyan’s dance faculty as a visiting assistant professor for fall 2005.
Students in her class had the opportunity to explore scientific, ethical and
social issues related to genetic research.
Lerman, who received a MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellowship in 2002 for her
visionary work, exposed Wesleyan students and faculty to the Dance
Exchange’s methods and interdisciplinary approach. The ultimate goal was to
refine ways to teach science to non-scientists and to gain knowledge through
Wesleyan and the Flint Cultural Center in Flint, Mich. are the lead
commissioners of “Ferocious Beauty: Genome.”
show will soon tour major performing arts centers
including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Yerba Buena Center for
the Arts in San Francisco and the Krannert Center for Performing Arts at the
University of Illinois.
For more information on the Liz Lerman Dance