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Università degli Studi di Padova

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Interview with Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith by Alessandra Nicifero

Interview with Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith by Alessandra Nicifero


MOLLY LIEBER and ELEANOR SMITH share their first memories of studying dance and growing up before meeting in NYC. Their strong interest in improvisation, and their desire to develop a feminist value system, where forms of hierarchy are challenged and eliminated, are at the core of their experimental practice in creating choreographic works.
The use of repetition and duration helps them distil and understand the content that first intuitively materializes in their bodies through their practice. The process of remembering shared traumatic experiences of sexual assault through movement makes it possible for them to revisit, transform and find new empowering narratives.
In terms of lineage, they feel a strong connection with “a category of women artists that have created big messes” within the NYC community. In co-teaching classes within academic institutions, they try to bring their non-hierarchical approach in order to re-create the supportive atmosphere that allows space for artistic expression.
They spoke about the experience of the pandemic, and their new projects.


[00:00:18] What are your early memories of dance?
[00:03:36] How did the two of you meet?
[00:05:00] How did your practice of creating work together develop?
[00:08:19] You have spoken before about creating a “filtration system” in your practice. How does that work?
[00:14:32] Is there a specific moment in the process, when you decide what material to bring to the stage, that is, when you know what should move from practice to performance?
[00:17:02] How do you use your memories and shared experiences in your work?
[00:21:52] What about your lineage within the American modern/post-modern tradition? Is there a sense of belonging to a movement, a tradition?
[00:25:06] What do you co-teach and how do you transmit to others your unique practice?
[00:28:53] Can you talk about the use of nudity in your work?
[00:34:58] Are there any lessons that you have learned during the pandemic?
[00:40:32] What are you working on now?


Lieber, Molly (Interviewee)
Smith, Eleanor (Interviewee)
Nicifero, Alessandra (Interviewer)


New York
September 4, 2021


video/quicktime (509.91 MB PT43M34S)


• Basketball, Beautiful Bone, Body Comes Apart, Gloria, Gloria rehearsal (excerpt), Rude World, Tulip, DanceNoise performance art duo Merola, Cindy Schneemann, Carolee, Alvin Ailey School of Dance, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Connecticut College, Fresh Tracks Residency & Performance program, Judson Church Movement Research, The New School, New York, New York Live Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sarah Lawrence College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Collaboration, Duration, Feminism, Feminist value system, Filtration system of working/Filtration process Improvisation, Intuition, Judson Dance Theatre, Memory, Nudity, Postmodern Dance, Repetition, Sexual trauma, Violence

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