Press Room

Friday June 26, 2015

Dance Review: Mark Morris Dance Group Delightful at Tanglewood

Something seemed slightly off as Morris walked on stage Thursday night. I couldn't quite put my finger on it at first. It wasn't the fact that Morris had on a black T-shirt and pants instead of a tuxudeo. Then I noticed Morris' feet. You could see them clearly. That's because he didn't have any shoes or socks on. Then I noticed the 20 musicians already standing on stage, waiting for Morris' instructions. None of the Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center had on any socks or shoes as well. Anyone who knows Morris' work shouldn't have been surprised. The legendary choreographer has always blazed his own unique path. And quite frankly, his idea to have the musicians barefoot and standing up while they performed was a stroke of genius.

Wednesday June 24, 2015

Mark Morris Tests Limits of Flexibility at Tanglewood

These are great days for Mark Morris, whose life appears charmed with possibilities. "I always can have whatever I want," said Morris, one of the dance world's most important, and most musical, choreographers, in a recent phone conversation from his apartment in the Kips Bay section of Manhattan. He meant that he enjoys complete freedom to do his work with wide parameters for his creative activity. He believes that live music goes hand-in-hand with dance performances, and he insists on it — everywhere his Mark Morris Dance Group performs, "since 1996, when it became our creed," he said.

Wednesday June 17, 2015

Jonathan Rose Companies to Commence Development of Brooklyn Cultural District Apartments

Jonathan Rose Companies announced it has begun construction of BCD:A (Brooklyn Cultural District Apartments), a 121,551-sq.ft. mixed-use, mixed-income property located at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Ashland Place in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District. The development team for BCD:A includes Dattner Architects, Bernheimer Architecture, and SCAPE Landscape Architects. Cultural partners for the project include The Center for Fiction and the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Tuesday June 16, 2015

Mark Morris Dance Group Returns to Tanglewood for World Premiere

Music matters for choreographer Mark Morris. He insists on having live music during dance performances. And the ideas for his dances always start with the music, he explained during a recent phone interview from his studio in Brooklyn, New York. "That's what I always do," Morris said. "I only work from music." That might explain why the Mark Morris Dance Group regularly performs almost every year at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the Berkshires. This month, the Mark Morris Dance Group will return to Tanglewood,  where Morris will personally conduct one work and his dancers will perform two pieces, including a world premiere that was specially commissioned by Tanglewood in celebration of the Tanglewood Music Center's 75th anniversary this summer, Morris said.

Friday June 05, 2015

Mark Morris dancers add dark quartet to light repertoire

Any chance to see Mark Morris Dance Group must be grabbed ­enthusiastically and immediately. MMDG has visited Australia only three times before — for the 1994 Adelaide Festival; Sydney in 2003; and for this year’s Perth International Arts Festival. Get it while you can.

Wednesday June 03, 2015

Review: Mark Morris and Haydn Join to Brighten Houston Ballet Program

HOUSTON — Why hasn’t Mark Morris set more dances to works by Joseph Haydn? An important part of this famously musical choreographer’s talent has been applied to pieces by composers from the late 17th century to the late 18th — notably Purcell, Bach, Handel, Gluck and Mozart. Haydn (1732-1809) isn’t just a central composer of that period; he also often exemplifies the same qualities as Mr. Morris: high spirits, terrific humor, a strong inclination to the pastoral and a keen instinct for structural experimentation. Last week, the Houston Ballet gave the premiere of Mr. Morris’s “The Letter V” — choreographed to Haydn’s Symphony No. 88 in G (1787). (Some Haydn symphonies were once known by letters of the alphabet; V was assigned to this one — hence this ballet’s title.)

Wednesday May 27, 2015

Get the ballet body: 6 secrets for staying fit from professional dancers (and recipes!)

Domingo Estrada from the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, New York lives by a motto: “Work hard, play hard, work harder, pray hardest.” When it comes to food, he explains: “I’m not too strict and I definitely splurge."

Thursday May 21, 2015

Next Wave at BAM: New Season to Include Binoche, Whelan, Soto and Kentridge.

The [Next Wave] festival will be capped in December with performances of "The Hard Nut," Mark Morris's take on "The Nutcracker," which will return to BAM after a five-year absence.

Thursday May 21, 2015

A toe-tapping good time

The Mark Morris Dance Company came to the Tryon Festival Theatre at Krannert on May 1 for a two-day run of their appealing and inventive version of George Friderik Handel's 1718 (rev. 1739) pastoral opera, "Acis and Galatea." This was a festive occasion in that the Krannert Center is one of the presenters of this production, and the chorus members were from Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana (BACH), and the pit orchestra players were from the Sinfonia da Camera. The conductor was the celebrated specialist in baroque music, Nicholas McGegan.

Sunday May 17, 2015

Review: Mark Morris' "Dido and Aeneas" an exuberant spin on ancient epic

Mark Morris' dance opera Dido and Aeneas is a tour de force of late 20th century artistic storytelling, a partial retelling of Virgil's 2,000-year-old epic poem "Aeneid" using Henry Purcell's 1689 musical composition. It is a riveting assemblage, one that smashesa nd rewrites stylistic boundaries.

Sunday May 17, 2015

Mark Morris' "Dido and Aeneas" turns opera into dance

The musician who watches this production appreciates the musicality of Morris’ choreography, the way it mirrors and even analyzes Purcell’s score. The movements become a physical analogy of the notes in the ether, expressing the rhythm, the phrasing and, at times, the harmony. And since Purcell’s music is busy expressing the libretto’s meanings and emotions, we get a tightly knit, multidisciplinary unit (not a counterpoint) of narrative and poetic feeling – words, music, dance.

Friday May 15, 2015

Center Stage: Mark Morris Brings "Dido and Aeneas" back to OC May 15-16

A dark and dramatic melding of modern dance and baroque choral music, Morris’s interpretation of English composer Henry Purcell’s 1689 opera, itself based on a tragic love story by the Roman poet Virgil, resonates with raw emotion. The production debuted in 1989 with Artistic Director Morris dancing the lead role of Dido/Sorceress alongside his company. Nearly three decades and a 2008 visit to The Barclay later, “Dido and Aeneas” remains as ageless as it is unforgettable.

Thursday April 30, 2015

BWW Reviews: Mark Morris Dance Group Return to BAM

Mark Morris Dance Group was a welcome return to Brooklyn. In the contemporary dance scene, often movement comes first, and music is fit into the pre-arranged movement which can leave a piece feeling a bit empty. The genius of Morris as a choreographer doesn't come from large, loud movement, but from the simple elegance of allowing the music to breathe life into the movement.

Tuesday April 28, 2015

Mark Morris Dance Group at BAM Review

With 35 years of impressive and variously poetic dance-making behind him, Mr. Morris appears in no way ready to confine himself to the tried and true. Whatever title he gives his next dance, it is likely to be provocative and may turn another new corner.

Monday April 27, 2015

Mark Morris's Jazz Spring

Morris has put a lot of different things into this new, more open sonic territory. There are tributes to spring, notably the title of the piece, “Spring, Spring, Spring.” (It’s the name of a song in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”) The dancers all wear flower garlands in their hair, and the men wear jeans in hotly vernal pink, blue, orange, yellow, and so on, with bare chests. Four of these guys stick together and zoom around wagging their rear ends naughtily.

Friday April 24, 2015

Mark Morris Dance Group at Brooklyn Academy of Music

If you try to analyze the way the choreographer Mark Morris fits dance to music, you quickly become aware of something akin to a scientific operation of intense intricacy: The connection of movement phrases and motifs to each score is extraordinarily complex in both structure and detail — and, often, brilliantly satisfying. But when you stand back and simply watch the sheer imagination with which Mr. Morris decides what kind of drama he’s marrying to music that, in most cases, was written long ago with very different ideas in mind, then he starts to look eccentric, a peculiar and daring oddball, an engaging but naughty maverick.

Thursday April 23, 2015

Mark Morris Dance Performs 'Whelm' and 'Words' at BAM

No choreographer alive has a higher reputation for musicality than Mark Morris; and that reputation — despite several blunders along the way — has been well earned over more than 30 years of marvelously eclectic creativity. From the Baroque to American modernism, from Monteverdi to Stravinsky, from Stephen Foster to jazz, his dances have brought music to meet dance in ways that have expanded our appreciation of the alchemy that these two arts can achieve together. And he is singularly, courageously, committed to live music in a field where, for economic reasons, recordings are increasingly employed.

Wednesday April 15, 2015

What Does it Take to Dance for Mark Morris?

Two of Morris' most distinctive veteran dancers took time recently to discuss both the repertory and the particular thrills and challenges of dancing for the renowned choreographer. Between them, Lauren Grant and Michelle Yard have logged 35 years of experience with his endlessly diverse, musically sophisticated work.

Friday March 27, 2015

Mark Morris masterpiece "L'Allegro" airs on PBS tonight

One of the happiest, most uplifting and imaginative dance productions will air on PBS’s “Great Performances” at 9 p.m. tonight: Mark Morris’ “L”Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.” This full-length modern dance accompanied by Handel’s oratorio of the same name is perfect fare for early spring. Seeing it could very well make you feel better about the human condition.

Wednesday March 25, 2015

Dancer goes from Belleville School of Ballet to "Great Performances" on PBS

It was one small step for a 3-year-old Swansea girl, one giant leap toward a professional dance career that would take her around the world...“I wanted to be a dancer as far back as I can remember,” she said. “Every little girl wants to be a dancer. I actually get to be one. I pinch myself all of the time when I think about how I am supporting myself and traveling the world with the Mark Morris Dance Group. ... I always knew deep down that I would find a way to live as a working dancer.”

Tuesday January 20, 2015

L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato on THIRTEEN's Great Performances

Mark Morris's signature work comes to television for the first time, hosted by Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Saturday December 28, 2013

ESSAY: Mark Morris' Dido and Aeneas by Dr. Sophia Preston

An essay by Sophia Preston

Just a few minutes into Mark Morris’s 1989 dance to Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas it is clear that at least some of the movement “represents” the words of the libretto. Whether by looking apt (shaking hands in the air to “shake”), or through repetition (hands held out in an Indian dance mudra every time the word “fate” is heard), associations build up between gestures and words, creating a lexicon of gestural signs. This “re-presentation” of the libretto through gestures might be viewed as a redundant doubling of the words, but my contention is that, on the contrary, Morris exploits the transparency of this strategy to sophisticated and moving effect.

Friday January 27, 2012

Two Reasons the Patient is Still Kicking

Alastair Macaulay for The New York Times

Every so often someone declares ballet dead. The theater critic Kenneth Tynan even did so in the 1960s, a decade that many of us assume must have been a golden age. (The choreographer Frederick Ashton said, “It’s having the biggest funeral in history.”) In 2010 it was the turn of Jennifer Homans, the dance critic of The New Republic, in the epilogue of her ballet history, “Apollo’s Angels.” In 1993 — I’d better come clean — it was me.

Friday May 14, 2010

A Mark Morris dance you must not miss

Roger Downey for Crosscut Seattle
Sometimes it’s the fuel that creates the dance. Jerome Robbins’ strange melancholy masterwork "New York Export: Opus Jazz" (seen all over America in a new staging in late March on PBS’s Great Performances), was the work of a man recalling youth, idealizing youth, desperately evoking youth as it faded from him. But sometimes youth itself makes the dance, pours it out in full thoughtless flood. Such a work is "Gloria," created in 1981 on a part-time company of friends by a 25-year-old independent choreographer named Mark Morris.
"Gloria" is only one of three Morris works coming to Seattle’s Paramount Theater May 21-23; but it is the one which you must see, whether you are a dance fan, a baroque music buff, a theater maven, or simply a person who has sometimes felt moving in the soul the feeling expressed by Dylan Thomas’s immortally longing Polly Garter in Under Milk Wood: “Oh, isn’t life a terrible thing, thank God?”

Friday November 24, 1995

ESSAY: Roger Downey on Dido and Aeneas

All it took to condemn one of the greatest operas ever written to three centuries in shadows were a bare dozen words—“Perform'd at Mr. Josias Priest's Boarding-School at Chelsey. By Young Gentlewomen.”

And the worst of it? It wasn’t even true.

In fact Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas was probably written for performance before the King and Queen of England. But those words, at the head of the libretto published in 1689, have cast such a pall of dainty respectability, of amateur night shenanigans over the work that most listeners have neglected the evidence of their own ears. Dido has been mostly revived professionally when a mezzo-soprano combining musical insight with box-office clout—a Kirsten Flagstad, a Josephine Baker—has insisted on performing it. Paradoxically, Mark Morris's danced version of the piece has probably done more to establish Dido in the repertory than those artists did. 

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The mission of the Mark Morris Dance Group is to develop, promote, and sustain dance, music, and opera productions by Mark Morris and to serve as a cultural resource to engage and enrich the community.

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