Choreographer Liz Lerman’s newest theatrical dance piece, “Healing Wars,” investigates the impacts of war through the experiences of healers who treat the physical and psychic wounds of battle. Virginia Tech faculty and student veterans, who met with Lerman and her creative team during a visit to Virginia Tech in 2012, contributed to the creation of the work.

The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech presents two performances of “Healing Wars” — on March 20 and 21 — at 7:30 p.m. in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall. 

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War provides a compelling opportunity to reflect on the effects of war. “Healing Wars” explores areas such as the innovation of medicine during war, the role of the healer in conflicts, and society’s connections to warriors. The professional ensemble features former U.S. Navy gunner’s mate Paul Hurley, who lost a leg above the knee while in service.

While developing the work, Lerman and her team wanted to understand how they could best highlight the emotions and the experiences involved in war while representing the ongoing tension between information and feeling. They arranged residencies across the country to talk with clinicians, soldiers, medical historians, and doctors.

In 2012 they visited Virginia Tech, where they gathered stories from student veterans and met with Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and other scientists to learn how they are researching the brain, with a specific interest in how the brain perceives differences between imagination and experience.

“Healing Wars” includes video imagery from Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute’s Human Neuroimaging Laboratory.

Lerman and Friedlander will reunite for “At the Crossroads: Art, Science Research” on March 17 at 7:30 p.m. The pair will discuss creative and scientific research and their intersections. The free event will be held in Moss Arts Center Cube. Registration is required. Call the Moss Arts Center’s box office at 540-231-5300 or register online. The event is co-presented by the Center for the Arts and Community Voices.

Lerman will be offering a workshop, “Modeling Science, Modeling Ideas,” for performing artists and scientists on March 18 at 10 a.m. in the Moss Arts Center Cube. The event is free, but registration is required by email.

In addition, Lerman and other “Healing Wars” artists will participate in a special question-and-answer discussion, moderated by Ann Kilkelly, professor of theatre arts and women’s studies, immediately following the performance on March 20 in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre.

A choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, Lerman is an artist whose dance-theatre works have been seen throughout the United States and abroad. She founded Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and led the company's multigenerational contemporary dance ensemble until 2011, when she handed the artistic leadership of the company over to the next generation of Dance Exchange artists.

Lerman has received numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur Fellows “genius grant” and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship. Her work has been commissioned by the Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival, Harvard Law School, and the Kennedy Center. 


Tickets are $35 for general admission and $10 for students and youth 18 years old and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

The presentation of “Healing Wars” was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.



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