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Home » News » MANCC Welcomes Liz Lerman, Living Legacy Artist

MANCC Welcomes Liz Lerman, Living Legacy Artist

Published November 12, 2013
Liz Lerman (MD) Living Legacy Artist | November 15 – 22, 2013
Liz Lerman Photo by Lise Metzger

Liz Lerman Photo by Lise Metzger

Renowned choreographer and MacArthur fellow Liz Lerman comes to MANCC for two residencies this season to develop her new work Healing Wars, which examines how we piece ourselves back together, as individuals and as a society, in times of war.

Lerman’s initial planning visit for the residencies took place Spring 2013, at which time she met with representatives from FSU’s School of Engineering, including Dr. Chad Zeng, an assistant professor who leads a team that has been awarded 4 million dollars by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs to advance the functionality of prosthetic limbs (“FSU Leading Development of Advanced Prosthetics for Veterans“). She talked to Col. Billy Francis, the director of FSU’s Veteran Center about the needs of veterans as they return to civilian life as students. Lerman was also able to meet with Dr. Kristine C. Harper, Associate Professor in FSU’s History Department and retired Naval Commander about her experiences as a female commissioned officer.

In Healing Wars Lerman pursues the questions, How do we absorb the impact and aftermath of war? What are the wounds to the body and soul of the people and of the nation, winner and loser both? How do these persist? The life and death of soldiers, nurses, surgeons, and spirits during the American Civil War and our contemporary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—though vastly different in purpose and outcome–forms the backdrop for eight characters who migrate between the conflicts – for example, a Civil War soldier whose femaleness is revealed during field surgery becomes a soldier in Iraq being counseled for PTSD. As the characters migrate between the conflicts of today and of the 19th century, we have the opportunity to see war itself as theme-and-variation. The 150th anniversary of our Civil War offers a potent context for issues that continue to impact lives in the US and around the world, but at an intimate scale Healing Wars is about bodies: what they bear, what they cannot bear, how we hide them when they die, how we patch them up while they live.

To realize her vision, Lerman has assembled a creative team of collaborators including an actor, sound designer, costume/scenic designer, video & projection designer, six dancers, and an ex-Marine. While in residence, Lerman plans to synthesize recent research and multiple site-visits as she and her collaborators push forward the design and narrative of the work.

Healing Wars will premiere at Arena Stage in June 2014.

Collaborators in Residence


  • Josh Bleill
  • Marjani Forte
  • George Hirsch
  • Ted Johnson
  • Tamara Pullman
  • Alli Ross
  • Keith Thompson


Stage Manager
  • Ben Royer
Media Designer
  • Kate Freer
Lighting Designer
  • Heidi Eckwall
Costume/Scenic Designer
  • David Reynoso
Sound Designer
  • Darron L West


Entrypoints are unique opportunities for visiting artists to conduct research and collaborate with the FSU and Tallahassee communities as well as the national dance field.

11/17 FSU Student Veteran Discussion
11/21 Informal Showing


Please note that the Informal Showing is a limited attendance, by invitation only event. 

Please e-mail with questions.


Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance. A key aspect of her artistry is opening her process to various publics from shipbuilders to physicists, construction workers to ballerinas, resulting in both research and outcomes that are participatory, relevant, urgent, and usable by others. She founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and cultivated the company’s unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance until 2011. She was an artist-in-residence and visiting lecturer at Harvard University in the fall of 2011, and continues to teach nationally and internationally from Edinburgh to Australia. Current projects involve Healing Wars, an investigation of the impact of war on medicine set to premiere at Arena Stage in 2014; the genre-twisting work Blood Muscle Bone with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Urban Bush Women; work in London with Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the London Sinfonietta; comic book structures as applied to narration in performance; and an online project called “The Treadmill Tapes: Ideas on the Move.” In 2013 she curated Wesleyan University’s symposium “Innovations: Intersection of Art and Science,” bringing together teams of artists and scientists from North America to present their methods and findings. Her collection of essays, Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, was published in 2011 by Wesleyan University Press and will be released in paperback in 2014.


Please visit Liz Lermon’s profile or email for additional information about Lerman’s residency.

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), at the FSU School of Dance, is a choreographic research and development center whose mission is to raise the value of the creative process in dance.