photo by Lise Metzger*

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Hi and welcome to the website. And welcome to my new blog! Please feel free to visit often.

May 14, 2016

The spring has been full of Critical Response workshops, both at home and abroad. In January, I made my third trip to introduce CRP to graduate students at Yale School of Drama. It's enlightening to see the different ways people are using CRP as a part of their artistic practice or in their everyday lives.

John Borstel and I led a CRP keynote for 4,000 participants at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in March. It was a challenging and rewarding task to bring CRP to such a large group of participants.

I also made a visit to Helsinki to lead a three-day CRP seminar for conservatory faculty from across Europe, through ICON (make ICON a link). There is a real hunger for new ways of giving and receiving feedback in conservatories. One participant noted after the week, "I feel that I can use the structure of Critical Response to interrogate myself in a really useful way…so the pain of not being wonderful /perfect/inspirational is transformed into proper perspective and use."

Closer to home I led CRP workshops with Baltimore Participatory Action Research, and co-led with Vincent Thomas a CRP/movement workshop for Baltimore Racial Justice Action.

May 5, 2016

Exciting news continues for Healing Wars: Parables of War, a documentary film focused on some of the development process of Healing Wars, has been acquired for distribution, allowing the film to be distributed across North America and Europe (and of course online and streaming). The film, directed by Nina Gilden Seavey, was part of the National Civil War Project and has won a number of festival awards. Parables of War shines its lens on a very particular part of my work, making it possible for audiences to see art in action. There will be a free screening of the film and a Q&A on Thursday May 12 in Takoma Park, MD.

If you missed it, I moderated the Pecha Kucha plenary at APAP NYC – it was a pleasure to share the stage with thoughtful, courageous artists.

January 29, 2016

Healing Wars has occupied me for the last four years, and it continues to surprise me: the piece was recently nominated for a San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Touring Production for its run at the La Jolla Playhouse in September-October 2015.

This nomination was a complete shock to me since I'm a newcomer to the theatre world (I was just as surprised when Healing Wars was nominated for six Helen Hayes awards after its premiere at Arena Stage). I am truly grateful for this honor.

I set several structural goals for Healing Wars to stretch myself in new directions. One example: could we open up new touring venues for movement-based narrative work like the kind I've been making for the past 40 years? The subject matter remained relevant and the structure of the piece demanded a lot of the audiences, who seemed to enjoy rising to the challenge. I'm thrilled that this piece had such a rich life in regional theatres and at university presenters.

I remain convinced that building a piece slowly over time, inviting audiences in along the way, and asking outstanding professionals from a variety of fields and organizations to question me makes for a great laboratory.

January 7, 2016
I'm pleased to share that in fall 2016 I will be starting a faculty position at Arizona State University in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Dean Steven Tepper and his associates have a big vision for art in the world that mirrors much of my work. 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. I intend to keep my ties to Baltimore as both the city and its people have become so important to me. There are also a few key partnerships around the world that I will maintain.

With the support of ASU, I hope that the Atlas of Creative Tools (formerly the toolbox) and Critical Response Process will be able to grow and reach more through the resources of this fine public university.

December 11, 2015
This fall has been rich with memorable moments: the final run of Healing Wars took place at La Jolla Playhouse; keynotes at the Houston Arts Partners conference and the SEC Symposium; attended the National Academies Keck Futures Initiatives conference; and had a great week of work on campus at UMBC in October and Middlebury College in November.

I was recently honored by the American Dance Guild and wanted to share this wonderful speech by Mary Seidman. You can see the videos I showed as part of my presentation here.

Liz, I am honored to speak on behalf of The American Dance Guild and to represent so many audiences in congratulating you on your trailblazing vision and commitment to expanding our lens, allowing us to see dance as truly a part of every aspect of life.

So many of us here tonight have been greatly influenced and inspired by your lifetime as a woman, artist, teacher, writer, scholar, mentor, and ambassador for the dance world.

You are constantly asking questions and investigating every aspect of humanity: whether it be religion, aging and death, politics, war and justice, science, medicine, genetics… in radical, yet always very personal ways, reaching out to audiences while communicating intellect, wit, and passion.

Since 1976, your home base has been the Baltimore/Washington DC area with your dance company, Dance Exchange, which stimulated audiences to think of dance as a community experience, a world experience, by integrating many body types, ages, and various groups of people investigating subjects in deep and meaningful ways.

We are grateful to you for creating the Critical Response Process text and workshops, widely-recognized as a method that nurtures the development of artistic works-in progress through a four-step, facilitated dialogue between artists, peers, and audiences. In use for over 20 years, the Process has been embraced by art makers, educators, and administrators at theater companies, dance departments, orchestras, museums and more.

Liz has been the recipient of numerous honors, and now we, the American Dance Guild, take great pleasure in presenting you with this Lifetime Achievement Award, because of your expansive work through several decades, fulfilling our mission at ADG “to further the awareness and appreciation of dance as a humanizing cultural force in society.”

Update September 1, 2015
Here's a snapshot of what I've been up to:

-- Critical Response Process workshops at Yorkshire Dance (England), Tisch (NYC), Marlboro College (VT), in Baltimore, at Detroit's CultureSource, and with the League of Chicago Theatres

-- Keynote addresses at the triennial Conservatoire Conference in London hosted by the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, at Hampshire College for the launch of the "Ethics and the Common Good" project, for playwrights at the WriteNow conference, in Chicago at Donors Forum, and again in Chicago at the Americans for the Arts' Annual Convention alongside Hideo Mabuchi (professor of physics, Stanford University) NOTE: Liz and Hideo's part starts at 24:30.

-- Workshops with the National Youth Orchestra (along with my marvelous colleague James Ross, of UMD), at Rutgers, at Holy Cross, at UMD-College Park, and also with social workers and counselors, APAP Leadership Fellows, and arts grad students.

And most recently I spent a week in New York City in preparation for the final run of Healing Wars this fall at La Jolla Playhouse. I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue to shape and deepen this piece. It's going to be an exciting run—I hope you'll join us if you're in the Southern California area.

Check my calendar page, and if you're in or around DC, you can see someone else's view of bits our Healing Wars development process at the AFI screening of Nina Gilden Seavey's "Parables of War". If you go, let me know what you think! I've spent my life making what might be called "non-fiction dance," yet to be the subject of a documentary film was full of surprises.