MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 2002

Liz Lerman


Founder and Artistic Director

Dance Exchange

Takoma Park, Maryland

Age: 54 at time of award

Published September 25, 2002
Portrait of Liz Lerman

Liz Lerman, a gifted teacher, choreographer, and performer, is redefining where dance takes place and who can dance. Early in her work, she demonstrated the power and role of dance for older people. Her contemporary dance performance company, the Dance Exchange, includes men and women ranging in age from the 20s through the 70s and from all walks of life. Lerman challenges the assumption that only professionals can create dance that is aesthetically pleasing and appreciated by audiences. In towns and cities throughout the country, her workshops have inspired local people—from shipyard workers to clerics—to dance with the troupe. Her most recent project, “Hallelujah,” combines dance, music, and stories to reflect the character of each community—from Eastport, Maine, to Los Angeles, California. Lerman builds community, encourages personal insight, and choreographs dances that have been called visionary, profound, and revelatory.

Liz Lerman received a B.A. (1970) from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an M.F.A. (1982) from George Washington University. She founded the Dance Exchange in 1976 and has choreographed works that have been seen throughout the United States and abroad. Lerman’s choreographic work has received support from Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, AT&T, and the American Festival Project. Her work has been commissioned by the Lincoln Center, the American Dance Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Houston Society of Performing Arts. Lerman is the author of Teaching Dance to Senior Adults (1983) and the recipient of an American Choreography Award.


High-resolution photos for download. Photos are owned by the MacArthur Foundation and licensed under a Creative Commons license: CC-BY. Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Right-click on a link below to save the file to your computer.

What's New

"Dance Legend Liz Lerman Joins ASU Faculty" thumbnail

"Dance Legend Liz Lerman Joins ASU Faculty"

Phoenix New Times
Liz Lerman , 2002 MacArthur Fellow
Read More
"Choreographer Liz Lerman Comes To ASU" thumbnail

"Choreographer Liz Lerman Comes To ASU"

Liz Lerman , 2002 MacArthur Fellow
Read More

"Colleges, theaters to create new Civil War plays"

From the San Francisco Chronicle
Liz Lerman, MacArthur Fellow, 2002
Read More

Twenty-Four MacArthur Fellows For 2002

Chicago, IL- The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 24 new MacArthur Fellows. Each will receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" support over the next five years.   "As the MacArthur Foundation approaches ... Read More