Liz Lerman believes that dance is for everyone. Not only does the Dance Exchange, of which she is artistic director, have students aged 2 to 102, but her dances are often performed by young and old, amateur and professional. It was therefore most appropriate that WETA-TV (Channel 26) presented Lerman and her company yesterday in a live performance for, and with, children.
"The Dance Exchange: Live From Children's Hospital" was a fast-paced introduction to all facets of dance, from warm-up exercises (which could be done sitting down by the young patients) through dances created on the spot to a work from the company's repertory, "Bonsai."
Throughout, Lerman explained, coaxed patients and hospital staff to participate, and asked for and fearlessly accepted suggestions from the kids. "Be a furnace burning trash," said one youngster. "Good idea," said Lerman, and the dancers complied.
Lerman selected dances with special appeal for children, dances with wild horses, sheep or a giant mushroom. But the kids got to do more than just watch. They could take part on stage if they wanted to. They learned that the same movement can be performed many different ways, that the same steps look different when danced by different people. They learned that dance is for everyone.