Liss Fain’s work fuses modern dance’s forceful energy with the kinetic precision of ballet. A formal structure exists in her work—non-narrative yet emotionally and physically powerful—in which the dance, the music and the visual environment are an indivisible unit. Liss Fain Dance has worked with filmmakers, visual designers, composers, technologists and electronic media designers on projects that have toured nationally and internationally. Since it’s founding in Boston in 1988, Liss Fain Dance has premiered over 45 works by Ms. Fain, with performances ranging from pure dance concerts to works integrating dance, visual design and technology. Liss Fain Dance has also collaborated with creative organizations that include MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, The Exploratorium and The Apple Multimedia Lab.
The company’s international tours are sponsored by groups that include U.S. Embassies in the host country, Trust for Mutual Understanding, USAI, and the host festivals. In 2010, LFD was one of four US companies invited to perform at Internationale Tanzmesse NRW. The company has performed and taught in 2007, 2008 and 2009 at festivals in Poland, Belarus and St. Petersburg. In 2006 the company performed daily at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for three weeks.
Liss Fain Dance has recently initiated two programs—IDE-A (International Dance Exchange-Artists), a bilateral artistic exchange between LFD and companies from abroad, and Performance Installations for non-proscenium venues, galleries and libraries. The performance installations invite the audience to move into the performance space, close to the dancers, and become an integral part of the performance. The first was at Beck & Eggeling Gallery (Dusseldorf, Germany sponsored by Amerika Haus). The three rooms of the gallery were in three separate buildings; the audience moved at will between the galleries, which had two or three dancers in each space. With the cast of performers also shifting between galleries there were no repetitions in the choreography; each gallery contained a complete performance—whichever galleries visited by the audience, in whatever order, became the individualized performance. The second performance installation, at Z Space at Theater Artaud, integrated Liss Fain’s choreography with the text of Lydia Davis as performed by actor Jeri Lynn Cohen. The audience walked through an architecturally designed performance space, by set designer Matthew Antaky, with an immersive sound environment by Dan Wool. The performance juxtaposed and interwove Liss Fain’s abstract, highly physical and emotionally powerful choreography with the unusual and complex writing of Lydia Davis. The False and True Are One is about different perceptions of the same event/thing. With the actor centrally placed, the dancers moved within delineated areas of the luminous set. The audience, standing or walking next to the dancers or observing from the theater seats, created the final layer of intimacy and unpredictability.
Liss Fain Dance has performed at and been presented by, among others: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Z Space at Theater Artaud, the A.W.A.R.D. Show, West Wave, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, ODC Theater, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (CA), Internationale Tanzmesse NRW, Amerika Haus (Germany), Open Look Contemporary Dance Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia), Silesian Dance Festival (Bytom), Zawirowania Festival (Warsaw), the US Embassy and Contemporary Dance Forum (Poland), Belaya Vezha International Theater Festival, Minsk Philharmonic Society and Grodno Drama Theater (Belarus), California State Summer School of the Arts, International Computer Music Conference, the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Downtown Dance Festival, NYC, Dance Umbrella, Boston, Harvard University, University of Massachusetts, Colby College, Clark University, and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Liss Fain Dance has received funding from Dance USA, USAI, Trust for Mutual Understanding, US Embassy in Poland, Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship, US Embassy in Belarus, San Francisco Arts Commission, the NEA, Zellerbach Family Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Walter A. Gerbode Foundation, Google Inc., Kellogg Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, C.A.S.H., Fort Mason Foundation, Marin Arts Council, Tides Foundation, Massachussetts Council on the Arts & Humanities.