The Philadelphia Inquirer: A dance with no dancer: Carolyn Lazard reimagines an art

A dance with no dancer: Carolyn Lazard reimagines an art

By Rosa Cartagena for The Philadelphia Inquirer

March 10, 2023

How do you experience dance? Many people see it — onstage or on TikTok — watching a dancer leap, turn, shake, shimmy, stomp, twist, fall, and rise. But if you hear a dance or read a description of it, can you view the artwork anew?

Carolyn Lazard’s exhibit, Long Take at the Institute of Contemporary Art, examines this translation. Visitors will sit to watch Lazard’s 19-minute-long Leans, Reverses video presented in three different ways on three separate monitors. Each monitor shows a black screen with white subtitles describing the audio. One plays Lazard’s voice as they read a dance score they wrote. Another plays the sound from multiple microphones worn by dancer Jerron Herman as he performed the movement Lazard directed. The other monitor plays the voice of poet Joselia Rebekah Hughes as she reads a description of Herman’s movement that she and Lazard wrote after watching the dance. You don’t see the dancer; you feel his presence.

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