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Dance Exchange: Matter of Origins show review

by the allegro team

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Hey everyone! I’m excited to be doing my first blog post for Allegro. It’s been a while since I had a presence on teh interwebs, so hopefully I won’t disappoint!

So I got to see Dance Exchange somewhat recently and I wanted to share my thoughts. ┬áTheir show, “Matter of Origins” was presented at the MCA in downtown Chicago as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival. Liz Lerman, the founder and former director of Dance Exchange, collaborated with physicists to create this inter-disciplinary work about dance, physics, the search for subatomic particles, and the meaning of life. ┬áThis show was amazing – the dancing was great, but what really blew me away was the creativity and care that Liz Lerman took to engage the audience in dialogue about dance, physics, and life in general. The first half of the show was a traditional dance concert, in the MCA’s theater space. The second half was a little different – it took place in a second floor lobby of the MCA and featured the audience sitting at many small round tables, having tea and cake and discussing what they’d seen and what they thought; interspersed with short scenes of the dancers (including at times a physics professor from DePaul!) performing amongst the tables.
Now I’ve been to a lot of shows with post-show discussions and other opportunities for the audience to discuss the work. But I have never been to a show that integrated the discussion and the performance so well. I did luck out a bit, two of the audience members at my table were physicists who had worked at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland (for non-physicists, working at the LHC is like getting to dance at the Lincoln Center – it’s a big deal!) We had a truly fascinating discussion about science, art, and the connections between the two.

Overall I was extremely impressed and inspired by this show. If it returns to town in the near future, I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested by dance, physics, or who just wants to see an example of how art can open up your world!

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