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Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
Ferocious Beauty: Genome

Sep 28–30, 2006


Photo by Kevin Kennefick.

Second Wave thinkers conceived of the human species as the culmination of a long evolutionary process; Third Wave thinkers must now face the fact that we are about to become the designers of evolution.
—Alvin Toffler, 1980

What we eat, how we heal, age, and procreate; today’s scientific culture is deeply affecting our daily lives and those of generations to come—perhaps more quickly than one would think. Ferocious Beauty: Genome is inspired by the rapidly expanding promise and threat of the new biological age. Developed over the past five years, partly through creative residencies at the MCA, this richly layered, multidisciplinary performance is saturated with exquisite dancing, imaginative storytelling, and provocative video interviews with scientists and ethicists from across the country. Lerman’s work summons questions about the potential of genetic engineering to alter the human condition, and— quite literally—the very fiber of our existence. The project fosters a long-term partnership among a national group of scientists, humanists, clergy, and artists who bring their best thinking to bear on the immediacy and relevance of recent developments in genetics.

Acclaimed choreographer Liz Lerman is one of the first to pioneer an intergenerational approach to dance, with performers ranging in age from their 20s to 70s. She has created over 50 dance/theater works, conducted thousands of performances and community encounters, and received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship. Since her company’s inception 30 years ago, they have used dance and creativity to unite communities and stimulate understanding, making art that explores identity, faith, and other subjects that link the ordinary and the profound. The MCA has supported the creative development of Genome.

For more information about Liz Lerman Dance Exchange


Artists Up Close

Town Hall: Why Should We Care About Genetics
Tuesday, September 26, at 6 pm
Free with registration through the IHC at 312.422.5580 or ihc@prairie.org
Presented with the Illinois Humanities Council

Advances in genetics have sparked polarized debates. Liz Lerman joins leading minds in genetics and bioethics—Northwestern University Medical School’s Rex Chisholm (genetics), Jon D. Miller (biomedical communication), and others—in a riveting debate facilitated by state-of-the-art audience response technology. This event launches the IHC’s year-long series, Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution.

First Night Post-Show Talk
Thursday, September 28

Peter Taub, Director of MCA Performance Programs, moderates an insightful post-show talk with the artists.

Family Movement Class
Saturday, September 30, at 2 pm, at The Field Museum
Free with required registration through the MCA Box Office at 312.397.4010
Presented in partnership with The Field Museum

The dancers of Ferocious Beauty: Genome lead an entry-level class for people of all ages with a curiosity and a desire to stimulate the brain and the body through dance.


Sponsored by the Boeing Company. Additional support provided by National Endowment for the Arts.

NEA    NEFA_color_CMYK

This project is supported in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding provided by the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.