Walker Art Center

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CommissionsHallelujah Minneapolis: In Praise of Beauty and Disorder

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange

On Father’s Day of 2001, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange presented as its culminating artist-in-residence performance Hallelujah/Minneapolis: In Praise of Beauty and Disorder, a celebration incorporating dance, theater, music, and storytelling performances by Dance Exchange company members, local artists, and community groups throughout the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The piece opened with a blessing/performance by the company that set the stage for an afternoon of discovery—visitors were encouraged to explore the Garden and experience a multitude of uniquely staged mini-performances and participate in interactive opportunities. A grand finale by the assembled dancers closed an unforgettable afternoon.

Since 1976, choreographer-cultural activist Liz Lerman has been a national pioneer in defining ways that innovative art-making can be linked intrinsically to community-building. For this project, she proposed a radical redefinition of artistic hierarchies: democratizing the art-making process and constructing creative and equitable relationships between visiting and local artists, veteran and first time performers, presenter and creator, artist and community. One of the largest and most complex residency initiatives the Walker has supported in recent years, Hallelujah/Minneapolis involved a series of visits to plan cooperative work with community organizations, local artists, Walker staff, and copresenting partners.

Hallelujah/Minneapolis: In Praise of Beauty and Disorder was one of 15 Hallelujah projects conducted in cities across the country between 2000 and 2002. This national initiative in performance, praise, and participation engaged all kinds of people to create a series of dance-theater works “in praise of” topics vital to their host communities. In Minneapolis, as participants began to explore the idea of celebration within the jumble of everyday living, “Beauty and Disorder” emerged as the key theme. Participants in Lerman’s artist residency in the Twin Cities included Art and Religion in the Twin Cities; Association of Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota; the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mary; Jeremiah Program; Sheridan Global Arts and Communications School; Southwest Senior Center; North High School; St. Paul Jewish Community Center; Rimon, the Jewish Metropolitan Council on the Arts; United Theological Seminary; Young Dance; and individual artists and community members.

Liz Lerman Dance Company’s Hallelujah/Minneapolis: In Praise of Beauty and Disorder was commissioned by the Walker Art Center especially for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and was developed in partnership with the Walker, Minnesota Dance Alliance, and Intermedia Arts.

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Hallelujah/Minneapolis: In Praise of Beauty and Disorder, June 2001

Photo: Dan Dennehy