Interdisciplinary Arts Symposium, Lied team up for arts grant


The Lied Center for Performing Arts and the Interdisciplinary Arts Symposium at UNL have been awarded an Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for their activities in 2010-11.

With the $25,000 grant, the Lied Center and IAS will explore new perspectives on diversity via a series of performances and educational activities - onstage and off, within the university and across the community.

"The Lied Center is very honored to be recognized at a national level for its programs of artistic excellence and diversity. This grant award supports the Lied Center in presenting cutting-edge works that expand the spectrum of arts experiences," said Bill Stephan, executive director of the Lied Center.

The Lied Center and IAS started working together in the 2009-10 season, when they collaborated on a series of exciting events. Events included Modern Dance Week, when the Lied Center presented Paul Taylor Dance Co. and IAS brought in David Dorfman Dance. Renowned dance critic Marcia Siegel delivered a free lecture about the two companies, and also took part in a multitude of sessions with UNL students as part of this special week.

"I am thrilled that, after only one season, our new program, the Interdisciplinary Arts Symposium or IAS has received such wonderful recognition," said Rhonda Garelick, IAS director and professor of English. "We are deeply grateful to the NEA, the Hixson-Lied endowment, and to the Lied Center, whose collaboration has meant so much to us. This grant from the NEA will help us continue to provide opportunities for enhanced understanding and appreciation of cutting-edge performing arts for the university and the community."

For the 2010-11 season, IAS focuses on "technology, prosthetics, and the body in performance," showcasing artists who stretch, alter or question the limits of the physical body through technology. Guests include award-winning choreographer Jody Sperling, who enhances her body via film, electricity, and other tools. Sperling will deliver a public lecture and master classes with UNL students and her company Time Lapse Dance will perform at the Lied Center in September.

In October, as part of the IAS/Lied partnership, the Lied Center is bringing AXIS Dance Co., one of the country's most acclaimed and innovative ensembles to include performers with physical disability. AXIS will deliver a public performance and conduct a variety of outreach activities, including sessions with local schools and Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. AXIS will offer the unique opportunity for community members to audition to take part in the piece "Light Shelter" choreographed by David Dorfman, which they will perform on the Lied stage with the company.

"We are so excited to be able to offer opportunities for our local community members to perform on stage alongside professionals in the field," said Petra Wahlqvist, director of community engagement and learning at the Lied Center.

Tickets to the AXIS performance will be available as part of a season ticket package on May 28 with single tickets available for sale Aug. 16. Patrons can receive a free ticket to Time Lapse Dance if they place their season order by July 16.

Heidi Latsky's Dance Co. GIMP, featured at the National Endowment for the Arts National Summit at the Kennedy Center in July 2009, will perform on the Lied main stage later in October, as another IAS offering this season. The ensemble also offers an aerial duet (featuring one able-bodied dancer and one double amputee who together seem to take flight). By showcasing dancers with prosthetic limbs, muscular dystrophy, and other significant challenges creating stunning and elaborate movement, GIMP challenges our preconceptions of what a "normal" body might be. The company will also conduct workshops and outreach activities with UNL students and the local community.

Internationally acclaimed French artist ORLAN, another IAS guest, will exhibit her "Harlequin's Coat" project in fall 2010 at the Sheldon Museum of Art. This exhibition, which blends biotechnology, fashion, film and design, and which will travel nationally, showcases ORLAN's use of the harlequin's patchwork motif as a metaphor for ethnic diversity and multiculturalism. A catalog titled "Fabulous Harlequin: ORLAN and the Patchwork self," forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press and edited by Rhonda Garelick and Sheldon director Jorge Daniel Veneciano, will accompany this exhibit, featuring articles by scholars from Spain, France, India, Taiwan, and the United States. ORLAN will work with UNL students during her 10-day residency.

The Lied Center and IAS will provide a free lecture-demonstration series to accompany the performances and educational outreach opportunities, featuring renowned scholars who will provide a deeper knowledge of the artist and the art form from an international and historical perspective. One of the featured speakers is respected dance critic Joan Acocella of The New Yorker magazine.

A portion of the NEA Grant for Artistic Excellence will go to support a mainstage presentation of the internationally acclaimed Harlem Gospel Choir in its Lied Center debut. The ensemble is famous for traveling the globe, sharing its joy of faith through its music with the finest singers from Harlem's Black Churches and the greater New York City area.

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- By Shannon McClure, Lied Center for Performing Arts

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