Liz Lerman and Company Make Bloomington Home (for awhile)

February 26, 2009

Dancers of the Liz Lerman CompanyBloomington (IN) has been blessed this winter with the ten-day residency of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Tonight, the program reaches its apex with the performance of Ferocious Beauty: Genone. For some time Liz has sought to explore the interface between art and science through a focus on the genome and the potential good/evil of new bio-technologies. Can the arts provide the basis for guiding humanity through the difficult ethical issues presented by our looming control over the genome? She would argue that the arts, including dance, are essential to this debate! A key strength of the arts is that they direct us to ponder fundamental questions about beauty and perfection – what they are, whether they are possible. Often, full exposure to the arts convinces us that, indeed, beauty is relative and perfection is ultimately unattainable or at least uninteresting. Insofar as we must celebrate variation, unpredictability, and constantly falling short of perfection, we can learn the humility to accept limits on the promises of bio-technology.
Recently, at the meetings of the Gerontological Society of America, friend and architect Emi Kiyota explained to me that “imperfectness” is an important design principle in Japanese culture. Not only is it considered pretentious to proclaim perfection but a space (room, building, etc.) should be left imperfect to enable the individual to creatively find his/her own fit. I like the notion!

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