Liz Lerman’s Healing Wars Visits The Capital As Part Of National Civil War Project

“Liz Lerman ‘Healing Wars’ Research in 2013 – 2014”

[Washington, DC] – Liz Lerman’s “Healing Wars,” the first dance event of Peak Performances 2014/15 season, opens at the Kasser Theater for three days only, September 25-27, following three weeks of sold-out performances at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C this past June.

Marking Liz Lerman’s most recent dance theater production, “Healing Wars” explores the brutalizing traumas of war, the eradicable effects it has on both the healer and the healed, and the many glorious and unexpected ways in which they compensate.

The 90-minute work presents a real and surreal panoramic consideration of the effect of war on bodies, the spirit and the emotional lives of everyone effected. Soldiers, nurses, surgeons and spirits migrate between the American Civil War and our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan revealing their frightening similarities, despite the difference in centuries.

The production features a cast of eight dancers and actors, who play multiple roles, as well as former Navy Gunners Mate Paul Hurley, who though he lost a leg in an IED attack in Falluja, is able to dance. Broadway actor Michael Scott replaces Bill Pullman.

The soundscape is by Tony Award-winning sound designer Darron L West; the scenic environment is by David Israel Reynoso and the media projections are by Kate Freer. The choreography was created by Liz Lerman and veteran dancer Keith Thompson, who also performs in the production.

“Healing Wars’ is part of the National Civil War Project, a radical multi-city, multi-year collaboration among four universities and five performing arts organizations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

Inspired by Liz Lerman, the project involves four multi-city partnerships facilitated through the launch by Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater and The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The other three partners include Alliance Theatre and Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts at Emory University in Atlanta; American Repertory Theater and Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.; and CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore and The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in College Park. These diverse localities symbolize the geographic scope of the American Civil War.


Liz Lerman (Director/Choreographer) is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance and the 2014 Dance/USA Honor Award. 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 led it until 2011. Current projects include Healing Wars; the genre-twisting work Blood Muscle Bone with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Urban Bush Women; 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. She teaches her Critical Response Process around the world. Her third book, Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, was published in 2011 by Wesleyan University Press.

[Photo by Teresa Wood courtesy of Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater]


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