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Photo by Lisa Metzger

With a career spanning nearly six decades, Liz Lerman has been questioning and testing the boundaries of dancemaking and education her whole life. She is known for building communities, working with dancers of all ages and abilities and creating works that explore topics like the human genome, particle physics and the defense budget.

Earlier this month, at The Jacob's Pillow 85th-anniversary season opening gala, Lerman was honored with the festival's 2017 Dance Award. This summer she'll also be honored as American Dance Festival's 2017 Balasaraswati/Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching.

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Jacob's Pillow just named Liz Lerman as recipient of this year's Dance Award (which comes with a $25,000 cash prize). If you've never familiarized yourself with Lerman's work, now's a great time to get acquainted with her particular brand of community engagement, creative research and interdisciplinary practice. Although she left the company she founded, Dance Exchange, in 2010, much of the work she created there remains synonymous with her multigenerational, research-driven style.

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Choreographer Liz Lerman has joined the faculty at Arizona State University in Tempe. As institute professor, she will direct cross-disciplinary programs through the new Ensemble Lab—a cooperative of artists and collaborators from diverse fields of study. A 2002 MacArthur Fellow, Lerman founded the Washington, DC–based Dance Exchange in 1976 and developed the groundbreaking feedback system Critical Response Process. Her latest dance-theater work Healing Wars, about the Civil War and Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was staged most recently at the La Jolla Playhouse, near San Diego. “I am thrilled to be invited to ASU and hope that I will be able to consolidate some of my many interests in one place,” Lerman said on her website.

Photo by Lise Metzger, courtesy of Lerman

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