Creating space for transformative conversations

Widening the Circle with Liz Lerman

2009 Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue

October 13 to October 22, 2009

Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue presented Liz Lerman with the 2009 Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue for "a lifetime of outstanding leadership, creativity, and dedication to melding dialogue with dance."

Ms. 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/theatre works have been commissioned by the Lincoln Center, Harvard Law School, and the Kennedy Center, among many others.

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. Her lifetime achievements include the award of a 2002 MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship.

An interdisciplinary artist, dialogue-maker and visionary, Liz Lerman continues to influence and enrich the ways we think about the role of art in our lives.

As part of the Blaney Award, Ms. Lerman was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Dialogue October 13-22, and participated in numerous workshops, dialogues and performances, all filled to capacity. The gala event at the Scotiabank Dance Centre included the award presentation, an animated keynote performance, and a reception.

Additional programming included:

  • Critical Response Workshop: Ms. Lerman engaged participants in constructive dialogue about their artistic works in progress and learned about the values of observation, neutral inquiry and measured opinion in a supportive environment.
  • Public Performance of LINK Dance Foundation’s Experiments: SFU Centre for Dialogue and LINK Dance Foundation presented a preview of Experiments, a full-length dance piece exploring the link between art and science.
  • Tools for Storytelling - Connecting Our Bodies to Our Ideas: Participants explored the dynamic between information and feeling in an afternoon of creative exploration and movement. The workshop empowered artists to express their ideas in tangible and visceral new ways.
  • Conversations, Questions and Freefall - A Public Dialogue: Liz Lerman teamed up with Judith Marcuse from the International Centre for Art and Social Change and special guest Arlene Goldbard to lead a discussion on how art practices enrich and inform every corner of our communities. Ms. Lerman also previewed excerpts from her book entitled Hiking the Horizontal which explores Liz Lerman’s life-long exploration of dance as a vehicle for human insight and understanding of the world around us.

About the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue 

The Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue is presented to an individual who exemplifies, internationally, the spirit and programs of SFU's Centre for Dialogue. Recipients of the award have demonstrated excellence and accomplishments in using dialogue to further complex issues of public importance.

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