Liz Lerman

Lerman Headshot

Red Box

Founder, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
Speaker & Consultant

Liz 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/theater works have been seen throughout the United States and abroad. Her aesthetic approach spans the range from abstract to personal to political. 

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, when she handed the artistic leadership of the company over to the next generation of Dance Exchange artists. Now she is pursuing new projects with fresh partnerships, beginning with a semester spent at Harvard University as an artist-in-residence. Other projects involve Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, of Urban Bush Women; an investigation of the impact of war on medicine; and comic book structures as applied to narration in performance.

Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, Liz’s collection of essays, was published last year by Wesleyan University Press.

Liz has been the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellow. Her work has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival, Harvard Law School, and the Kennedy Center among many others. Her newest performance, The Matter of Origins, examined the question of beginnings through dance, media and innovative formats for conversation.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Milwaukee, Liz attended Bennington College and Brandeis University, received her BA in dance from the University of Maryland, and an MA in dance from George Washington University. She is married to storyteller Jon Spelman. Their daughter, a recent college graduate, is in Thailand working at the Shanyouth Center in Cheng Mei

Dance Educator
Keynote Speaker