Ligia Lewis is a choreographer and dancer. Described by The New Yorker as “an American experimentalist,” Lewis gives form to movements, speech, affects, thoughts, relations, utterances, and the bodies that hold them. Her experientially rich works slide between the familiar to the unfamiliar, while being held together by the logics of interdependence, disorder, and play. Her work is shaped by meticulously crafted forms of embodiment. When these meet sonic and visual metaphors, they create space for the emergent and the indeterminate, while simultaneously tending toward the mundane. In considering the social inscriptions of the body, the enigmatic, the poetic, and the dissonant are materialized in her work.
Her recent performance trilogy includes Water Will (in Melody) (2018), a gothic tale set in black and white; minor matter (2016), a poetic work illuminated by red; and Sorrow Swag (2014), presented in a saturated blue. Her other works include: Sensation 1/This Interior (High Line Commission, 2019); so something happened, get over it; no, nothing happened, get with it (Jaou Tunis, 2018); Melancholy: A White Mellow Drama (Flax Fahrenheit, Palais de Tokyo, 2015); $$$ (Tanz im August, 2012); and Sensation 1 (sommer.bar, Tanz im August, 2011 and Basel Liste, 2014).
As a dancer, Lewis has performed and toured extensively with artists including Ariel Efraim Ashbel, Mette Ingvartsen, Eszter Salamon, Les Ballets C de la B, among others. She has collaborated with musical artist Twin Shadow, visual artist Wu Tsang, and with the DJ collective NON Worldwide.
Lewis is the recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants Award (2018); a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for minor matter (2017); a Factory Artist residency at tanzhaus nrw (2017-19); funding from the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe (2017-18); and a Prix Jardin d’ Europe from ImPulsTanz for Sorrow Swag (2015). Lewis’ stage works are managed and produced, in part, by HAU Hebbel am Ufer Theater. Her work has been presented in multiple venues and is currently touring internationally.
Ligia Lewis will be a visiting artist and professor in the Alma M. Hawkins Memorial Chair at UCLA's World Arts and Cultures Department for the Fall Quarter 2019.
“A theater is perhaps a kind of vise, a mechanism for durational holding. The best artists working in the form understand that whatever is placed between the proscenium’s jaws—sound, light, language, bodies, movement—is so clutched to facilitate the material’s irrevocable transformation, often via brute force. Ligia Lewis is one such artist.” - Catherine Damman (Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wesleyen University) on Ligia Lewis
photo by: Doro Tuch