Liz Lerman to leave dance troupe in July

This summer, Liz Lerman, who won a MacArthur "genius" Award, will leave the Takoma Park dance troupe she founded.
This summer, Liz Lerman, who won a MacArthur "genius" Award, will leave the Takoma Park dance troupe she founded. (DOUG KAPUSTIN, Baltimore Sun)

This summer, MacArthur Award-winning choreographer Liz Lerman will leave the Takoma Park, Maryland troupe she founded in 1976 to pursue solo projects in dancing and writing.

The company, now called the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, will revert to its original name — The Dance Exchange — on July 1. The new artistic director will be choreographer Cassie Meador, 31, who is in her 10th year with the troupe.

"I have been so supported by the community in the Washington D.C. and Maryland area, and have been challenged to do my best work," Lerman said in a news release. "I'm grateful for that and look forward to watching the interactions of the new Dance Exchange with those audiences."

Lerman was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2002. Her reputation is based on dance pieces inspired by such esoteric topics as the human genome project, the defense budget and the Nuremberg trials; on using untraditional artists in her pieces, such as the residents of a senior citizens home; and on performances in such unconventional venues as a construction site.

But since winning the MacArthur, Lerman has been pursuing more individual projects and has been less involved in the day to day operations of her company.

This fall, she will become artist in residence at Harvard University, and is developing several choreography projects. In addition, a collection of Lerman's essays, "Hiking the Horizontal," will be published by Wesleyan University Press this Spring.

"I'm part of a whole generation that's coming to a later age with a lot of vividness and capacity," the 63-year-old Lerman said. "I'm very enthusiastic about the partnerships that I'm forming, the conversations I'm having, and the ways in which I'm going to work."


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