Elizabeth Bergmann: The celebration goes on

by Dance

Ricky Kuperman '11

Liz has been such a supportive and inspirational leader of the Dance Program. She is so genuinely interested in the work of all of her students, and is always working hard to make sure that their artistic efforts are executed at the highest possible level. When I first began choreographing at Harvard, she encouraged me to get outside perspectives on my work, and to include mentors whom I trusted in the choreographic process. I followed her advice, and soon met with her to go over sections of my pieces on video. Taking it one step further, she always made a concerted effort to get inside the rehearsal room with us, even to watch rough, unfinished fragments of choreography. Always honest but never patronizing, Liz's critiques and advice have really pushed me to grow as an artist, and I'm very grateful for all that she's done for dance at Harvard. She will be sorely missed!

Megan Murdock '14

I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Liz, even for one semester, but I guess I’m also one of the unlucky ones: I had just enough time with Liz to realize what I’m going to be missing the next three and a half years. Although I never had the chance to take Liz’s choreography class, I was given the opportunity to perform in her two pieces for the Fall 2010 Harvard-Radcliffe Modern Dance Company show. At first, I must admit, I was very intimidated by her. I mean, she’s the Dance Director of Harvard; she’s got to be incredible. Even though Liz had only been to a couple of the first rehearsals, and then left for six weeks, she always seemed present with the notes she gave based on the videos sent to her after each rehearsal. She also talked to all of the dancers individually, and I was definitely put more at ease. When we got down to business, she spent so much time working with us to make sure that even the little details were correct and that our spacing was right, but especially that the performance quality was exactly how she wanted it.

Liz really cared about the piece as a whole, but also about each of the individual dancers in it. We spent time in rehearsals fixing parts of the dance, but many of the corrections and suggestions were helpful to us as dancers and can be carried over to other dances or classes as well. She really encouraged each of us to reach our fullest potential, and then helped us exceed that potential.

Natalie Cameron '11

Working with Liz Bergmann over the past year for Dancer's Viewpointe 10 and the Harvard-Radcliffe Modern Dance Company has been one of the highlights of my Harvard experience. Liz's dances are more than just steps; they tell profound stories that resonate with her dancers and audience. In rehearsals she focuses on defining the relationships between dancers and motivating their movement. For example, during one rehearsal last year she asked me, "Why did you just move your arm?" It's a simple question, but I did not have an answer. From then on, she made me think about dance in a different way. She encouraged me to find meaning for my movements from within and bring my dancing to a whole new level. This semester I was honored to dance a solo role in her work Solitary/Solidarity. The piece depicts the internal struggles of a woman searching for both independence and companionship. The choreography pushed both my physical and emotional boundaries, and because of it I have become not only a stronger dancer, but a stronger person. I am grateful to Liz in more ways than I can imagine. I think I can speak for all of the dancers at Harvard when I say that Liz Bergmann will be deeply missed.