Institutional News

Choreographer and MacArthur “Genius” Liz Lerman To Give Commencement Address

Choreographer, performer, writer, educator, and alumna Liz Lerman will address the class of 2018 at Bennington College’s 83rd commencement dinner on Friday, June 1, at 7:00 pm on Commons Lawn. The event will be livestreamed.

Bennington College announces Liz Lerman as commencement speaker

Lerman’s work ranges from abstract to personal to political, and her process emphasizes research and collaboration across disciplines and media. She is the recipient of a 2002 MacArthur “genius” grant, the 2017 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, and an American Dance Festival's Distinguished Teaching Award, among other honors.

More about Bennington College's 2018 Commencement Ceremonies

“Liz is a groundbreaker and model of how artists can engage the urgent questions of their times, whether they’re drawn to issues of social justice, poverty, the environment, scientific advances, or community engagement,” said Bennington College President Mariko Silver. “Her work, which uses creativity and humor to reflect, reshape, and reimagine the world around her, will be of utmost relevance for our graduates, and we look forward to hearing from her.”

“Liz is a creative visionary,” said Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge when Lerman was announced as the Pillow’s 2017 award winner. “Since the 1970s, she has built bridges to other domains and expanded where dance lives in our society.”

“I’m looking forward to returning to Bennington, a place I called home when I was 17,” said Liz Lerman. “When I was asked to be this year’s commencement speaker, what came to mind was the opportunity and the responsibility of speaking with the graduating students as we live through this time of historical reckonings. So of course I said ‘yes.’”

Lauren Omokheoa '18 will be the senior class speaker.

About Liz Lerman

Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator, and speaker, and the recipient of honors including a 2002 MacArthur “genius” grant Fellowship and a 2017 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. Key to her artistry is opening her process to various publics, resulting in research and outcomes that are participatory, urgent, and usable. She founded Dance Exchange in 1976 and led it until 2011. Her recent work Healing Wars toured the US. Liz teaches Critical Response Process, creative research, the intersection of art and science, and the building of narrative within dance at institutions such as Harvard, Yale School of Drama, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her third book is Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer. As of 2016, she is an Institute Professor at Arizona State University.
Read her full biography: