Much like fellow choreographer Bill T. Jones, Liz Lerman is attempting to explore her own spirituality and religious beliefs in the medium of dance.
But in contrast to Jones' massive "The Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land," which was staged at Kansas University in February, Lerman has taken a smaller-scale and in some respects sharper look at her religion and herself in "The Good Jew?," one of the dance pieces her company, the Dance Exchange, performed Friday night in Liberty Hall.
"The Good Jew?" is a co-commission from the KU New Directions Series, which presented the Dance Exchange performance. The company will perform again at 8 p.m. today at Liberty Hall.
With a series of expert and at times stunning stage pictures and an alternately serious and humorous slant, the Washington, D.C.-based Lerman succeeds to a large extent at dramatizing the internal struggle she must feel over whether she is "Jewish enough.''
DESIGNED AS a trial, she and her company, which includes dancers from a range of age groups, go through a series of witnesses in an effort to describe what a good Jew is and whether Lerman fits the bill, or even if she wants to fit the bill.
She plays herself onstage, a gutsy move, and she exposes herself to both praise and ridicule from a Talmud-spouting prosecutor, a practical defense attorney and a gentile judge. Much of the movement is made up of gestures that arise from emotions expressed from the characters