Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times calls choreographer Liz Gerring’s mind, “warmly modernist: scientific but also passionately and infectiously in love with movement.” Gerring returns to the Kasser with “field,” the third in a trilogy of works created in collaboration with composer Michael J. Schumacher and designer Robert Wierzel, all commissioned and produced by Peak Performances. In Field, Gerring and her team conceive a place in which the elements — movement, sound, and light — combine to envelope and engage the audience, and where her magnificent dancers test their the physical limits.
Alexander Kasser Theater
Join Liz Gerring, dance scholar and writer Nancy Dalva, and Peak Performances’ executive director Jedediah Wheeler to share reflections and responses immediately following the performance.
Liz Gerring was born in San Francisco in 1965. She grew up in the Los Angeles area and began studying dance at age 13. In high school, she studied dance at the Cornish Institute in Seattle. In 1987, she received a BFA from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Kazuko Hirabayashi and Doris Rudko. In March 1998, she presented her first piece, a four-hour movement installation, and soon after formed the Liz Gerring Dance Company. Liz Gerring was awarded the Jacob’s Pillow Prize in June 2015 and a Joyce Theater residency and creation award in the same year. In 2016/17 she was awarded a New York City Center Choreographic Fellowship. She lives in New York City with her husband, Kirk August Radke, her three children, and two dogs.
Michael J. Schumacher is a composer, performer and installation artist based in Brooklyn. In addition to his long-term collaboration with Liz Gerring, he has worked with choreographer Sally Silvers, poet Bruce Andrews, musicians Oren Ambarchi, Kaffe Matthews, Donald Miller of Borbetomagus, Phill Niblock and Ed Tomney of the indie band Necessaries, conceptual artists Luke Dubois and Elana Herzog, architect Victoria Meyers, video artist Ursula Scherrer, film-maker Ken Jacobs, and many others. His 2004 CD “Room Pieces” (XI) was named best in composition by THE WIRE magazine. Another XI release, a DVD of Five Sound Installations that were actually computer programs that invented the music in “real time”. His most recent project is the rock band diNMachine.
Robert Wierzel has worked as a lighting designer with artists from diverse disciplines and backgrounds in theater, dance, contemporary music, visual arts, and opera on stages throughout the country and abroad. Wierzel has a long collaboration (30 years) with choreographer and director Bill T. Jones and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. His other dance collaborations include works with choreographers Seán Curran, Doug Varone, Andrea Miller, Larry Goldhuber and Heidi Latsky, Molissa Fenley, Donna Uchizono, Alonzo King, Charlie Moulton, Michael Tracy/Pilobolus Dance Theatre; Arthur Aviles; Margo Sappington; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre; Trisha Brown Dance Company; Lyon Opera Ballet and the Berlin Opera Ballet. Robert has also worked on productions with the opera companies of Paris-Garnier; Tokyo; Toronto; Bergen, Norway; Folk Opera, Sweden; New York City Opera; Glimmerglass Festival; Washington National; Seattle; Boston Lyric; Lyric Opera/Chicago; Minnesota; San Francisco; Houston; Virginia; Montreal; Vancouver; Florida Grand; and Portland, among others. His theater work has been seen on and off Broadway, including Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill starring Audra McDonald; the musical Fela! (2010, Eugene O’Neill Theatre: Tony Award nomination), and at the Royal National Theatre of London.
Amith A. Chandrashaker’s credits include La Boheme (Atlanta Opera), Fidelis (Public), Ping Pong (Public), Ike at Night (UTR/Public), Stoop Stories (Weston Playhouse), Carnival Kids (Lesser America), The Woodsman (Oberon Ensemble), Platonov (The Kitchen/Jay Scheib), The Hatmaker’s Wife (Playwrights Realm), L’Elisir D’Amour (The Curtis Institute), The Drawer Boy (Soho Playhouse), Baal (Hoi Polloi), Rough Sketch (59e59), Festenmacher (Robert Woodruff/NYU Tisch). He has premiered work with choreographers Alexander Ekman, Aszure Barton, Kate Weare, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Rennie Harris Pure Movement, and The National Dance Company of Wales.
In The News
ALASTAIR MACAULAY, THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Liz Gerring’s Horizon [Is] Exuberantly Athletic”
No other American choreographer alive just now is making movement that so marvelously cleanses the palate the way Liz Gerring’s does. Her hourlong work Horizon had its premiere last week at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University as part of the Peak Performances series here, and its mix of purity and athleticism is strong, clean, bold and exciting. It fluently combines modern technique with a postmodern and quasi-analytical scrutiny of pedestrians and athletes. But the mind that shapes the choreography is warmly modernist: scientific but also passionately and infectiously in love with movement.
BRIAN SEIBERT, THE NEW YORKER: “Liz Gerring Dance Company”
Even more than “Glacier” and “Horizon,” the first two installments in Liz Gerring’s trilogy for Peak Performances, in Montclair, New Jersey, her new addition, “Field” (Oct. 18-21), doesn’t disguise its influences. Against the spare murmurings of a score that incorporates found sound, the work often resembles one of Merce Cunningham’s nature studies, when its use of stage edges isn’t calling to mind Trisha Brown. Gerring does her masters proud, but she’s more distinctive in the sporty air she gives to big, bold shapes and bodies bent way over.
Programs in Peak Performances’ 2018-19 season are made possible in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.