The world premiere of Liz Gerring’s “glacier” at the Alexander Kasser Theater in Montclair, September 19-22, signals a major new step for choreographer Liz Gerring. Larger in scale and choreographically more complex than her previous works, “glacier” was commissioned by the ever-adventurous Peak Performances.
“I began making ‘glacier’ with a series of gestures,” Gerring said.” “The simple strung movements, initially of hands and arms, transposing my ideas to a sequence of images. Gradually the work unfolded, gestures expanding into fuller body realizations, into a layering of movement as it gathered momentum. I really felt simultaneously both the solidity and the evanescence inside the sound score as we developed the work in residence at the large space at the Kasser Theater at Montclair.”
In “glacier,” Gerring joyfully exploits the large stage at the Kasser, recalling the prairie land of her ancestors, where space is endless, mysterious and radiant with possibility. “glacier” invites the imagination of the audience.
Though still defined by meticulous athleticism and rigor resonant with emotional and sensual theatricality, Gerring’s choreography in “glacier” is more complex and incorporates light instead of visual art or film to illuminate her ideas. The multi-channel music, “Glacier,” is by Gerring’s oft-used composer Michael Schumacher; the stunning minimalist set and lighting is by Robert Wierzel; costumes are made by Marion Talan.
Gerring was born in San Francisco in 1965. She grew up in the Los angeles area and started studying dance when she was 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 dance with Kazuko Hirabayashi and Doris Rudko. She has been working as a choreographer in New York since 1993. In March 1998, she presented her first piece, a four hour movement installation. Since then, the Liz Gerring Dance Company has presented work at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jacob’s Pillow, Danspace Project, The Connelly Theater, The Kitchen, Engine 27 and other venues.
Since its inception in NYC in 1998, The Liz Gerring Dance Company has been exploring non-narrative, abstract movement, often derived from natural gesture. Works are characterized by their intense physicality and intricate choreography. Movement is evolved from cause and effect rather than storytelling, and framed by independent media elements – often a multi-channel sound score, or video set design.
The company is noted for its close collaboration with contemporary visual artists and longtime association with electronic music composer Michael J. Schumacher. In 2001 Gerring and Schumacher founded the non-profit TonalMotion Inc., dedicated to the creation and presentation of movement and sound art. Its activities include Diapason Gallery and The Liz Gerring Dance Company.
The Company currently numbers nine dancers including Liz Gerring herself.