Press Room

Thursday January 28, 2016

The return of Mark Morris' "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes" to San Francisco Ballet's repertory

The greatest pleasure of this program is the return, after an eight-year absence, of Mark Morris’ “Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes” (moved up from Program 7). The experience is akin to encountering an old friend and sensing that he has grown younger with the years.

Saturday January 23, 2016

Dance Returns the 'Joy of Movement' to People with Parkinson's

If you pictured a dancer, you probably wouldn't imagine someone with Parkinson's disease. Worldwide, there are 10 million people with the progressive movement disorder, and they struggle with stiff limbs, tremors and poor balance. But over the past 15 years or so, a few thousand have taken dance classes that are part of a program called Dance for PD. It began in Brooklyn and has spread throughout the country and around the world. It has also attracted the attention of scientists interested in the ways dance might ease symptoms.
"We don't dumb it down. I believe very much in making this a really joyful and challenging experience," she says. "But it has to be both challenging and kind of satisfying."
Karlin learned what she needed to know to start her Parkinson's program at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, where Dance for PD began about 15 years ago. David Leventhal is the director of the Mark Morris program. At the beginning, he says, it was trial and error because "there's no one type of Parkinson's, no one set of symptoms."

Thursday January 21, 2016

Moving to the Music

The connection between music and dance has long been toyed with, considered, argued and experiemented on. From the famed collaboration of John Cage and Merce Cunningham to babies bopping along to beats, there is an undeniable synergy between the two. Mark Morris puts this relationship at the core of every one of his creations. As one of the only choreographers to insist upon live music with every performance, Morris champions the belief that these two art forms do and must exist together.

Monday January 04, 2016

See the best new dance on screen

The Mark Morris Dance Group hasn’t visited Britain for some time, but his lyrical masterpice L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato has finally been recorded on DVD, bringing his genius into our homes. Along with The Hard Nut, his sardonic retelling of The Nutcracker, L’Allegro shows him at the height of his interpretive powers.

Wednesday December 30, 2015

Dance forecast 2016: Honoring the legendary Chitresh Das

The company returns to Cal Performances with Morris' masterwork, "L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato," set to Handel's oratorio of the same name performed live by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

Saturday December 19, 2015

Mark Morris Dance Group - The Hard Nut - New York

The gap left by the departure of Alexei Ratmansky’s Nutcracker for the West Coast – where it seems to be enjoying a successful run – has been filled this year by the return of Mark Morris’s now classic The Hard Nut. Made in 1991 for the Théâtre de la Monnaie, it was Morris’s farewell to Brussels, where the company had spent a productive, if embattled, three years. In short, local audiences and reviewers never really took to Morris’s irreverent style. With The Hard Nut, he gave them one last piece of hard candy to break their teeth on.

Saturday December 19, 2015

What the Rockettes and The Hard Nut teach us about the meaning of life

Like the Christmas Spectacular, “The Hard Nut” is retro-inspired. It takes place in the 1970s, with a comic-book look based on the off-kilter perspective of Charles Burns, the D.C.-born creator of such teen-horror graphic novels as “Black Hole” and “Blood Club.” The decor for the Stahlbaums’ Christmas party includes a white aluminum tree, a deluxe television console and the prominent positioning of a cocktail cart. The characters are superbly detailed, and masculinity and femininity are easily transferable. Mrs. Stahlbaum, portrayed with gallant faded grandeur by John Heginbotham, is desperate for her happy pills and the booze to wash them down. As Dr. Stahlbaum, Morris is benignly oblivious.

Tuesday December 15, 2015

Holiday Fare: Two 'Nuts,' Plaid Glad Tidings, and a Jersey Boy

Twenty-three years after its American premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mark Morris’s “The Hard Nut” returns to the venue through December 20 as a modern classic. That status was not entirely assured when this cheeky re-imagining of the ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved “The Nutcracker Suite” first electrified audiences. “It’s deepened over the years,” says Morris now. “People who saw it as kids are now bringing their own kids.”

Tuesday December 15, 2015

The Hard Nut, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York - 'Hilarious and touching'

“Nobody can listen to The Nutcracker any more,” Mark Morris once exclaimed, because “it’s used to get you to buy everything you can imagine.” His hilarious and deeply touching Hard Nut may return the magic to the score but it also revels in the junk the music drove us to consume.

Monday December 14, 2015

'The Hard Nut'...or 'How I Beat the Holiday Blues'

f you’re like me, this time of year can be a sore trial with all the forced holiday cheer. There’s so much pressure to be jolly and all of those obligatory holiday shows just strain your patience. You’re thinking, please, not another production of The Nutcracker! The good news is that you don’t have to suffer any more. You can re-discover your inner holiday mirth by going to see The Hard Nut with the Mark Morris Dance Group. From start to finish, this production is a triumph courtesy of Morris’ abundantly affectionate imagination.

Sunday December 13, 2015

Mark Morris's 'The Hard Nut,' Tchaikovsky With Cartoon Wit and Verve

The greatest single “Hard Nut” dance is the Snowflakes waltz at the end of Act I. No other treatment of this famous music so excites its audience, and again Mr. Morris’s secret is timing. And yet how crazy it is, with these unisex dancing Snowflakes in their bizarre bikini-tutus and skewed shell hats, releasing snow from their hands now in steady drizzles, now like explosions of cocaine. First, we laugh at, then we laugh with, these creatures. They’re preposterous; they’re life-enhancing.

Friday December 11, 2015

You've Never Seen a 'Nutcracker' Quite Like This Before

“I wanted a giant, giant number of snowflakes, but I thought, ‘Why are snowflakes women?’ I’m not sure. Once you’re frozen, it doesn’t matter what your sex is.”
That's how choreographer Mark Morris recalled his inspiration for "The Hard Nut," his edgy, gender-bending take on "The Nutcracker," which returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York Dec. 12 after a five-year absence. The Mark Morris Dance Group's production, which has become a holiday tradition in its own right, breaks from the traditional "Nutcracker" mold by transporting the yuletide coming-of-age story from Europe to mid-20th century American suburbia.

Wednesday December 09, 2015

The Best Dance of 2015

Dance took off in a number of unexpected directions this year. The dance critics of The New York Times — Alastair Macaulay, Gia Kourlas, Brian Seibert and Siobhan Burke — look back at some of the biggest surprises.

Elegance Revisited The thought of a contemporary ballet can cause trepidation, but Mark Morris’s “After You” for American Ballet Theater honored both the art form and its dancers. Subtle and refined, “After You” is a modern ballet worth saving.

Tuesday December 08, 2015

'The Hard Nut' Puts a Modern Twist on 'The Nutcracker'

Mark Morris' modern take on The Nutcracker sizzles at BAM. Twenty-three years after its American premiere, Mark Morris’s The Hard Nut returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (December 12–20). “The challenge is to keep it fresh, current, and surprising,” says Morris.

Tuesday December 08, 2015

Dance this Week: Alina Cojocaru, Liz Gerring and an Alternative "Nutcracker"

The Hard Nut and Mark Morris

Of all the many “Nutcracker” productions I’ve seen, this is one of only two (with Alexei Ratmansky’s for American Ballet Theater) to play Tchaikovsky’s score complete in the correct order; and (unlike Ratmansky’s) it has a live choir for the wordless snowflakes sequence.

Monday November 30, 2015

The Choreographer Mark Morris's Nesting Dishes

One of the choreographer Mark Morris’s favorite places to cook is a tiny kitchen in an almost exclusively female commune near Bangalore, India. “The girls freak out,” he said. “They can’t believe a man is cooking.” The kitchen is equipped with two gas hobs and a lone light bulb and is open to the outside, welcoming in mosquitoes. Mr. Morris insists on cooking, although the older women sometimes disapprove of his methods. “The aunties are very strict,” he said. “They come in and shake their heads. ‘Oh, you’re going to do it like that?’”

Friday November 13, 2015

The Meticulous Musicality of Mark Morris

Morris’ intense musicality — his ability to interpret the accompaniment through movement in a unique, organic and interesting way — may be his most distinctive contribution. Although most choreographers have some appreciation of music, there are few with Morris’ depth of knowledge and his ability to bring whatever music he is using so kinetically alive.

Friday November 13, 2015

Listen Up: Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra & Mark Morris Dance Group

Such a treat it was to experience the Mark Morris Dance Group back on Oct. 27, also at the Lensic. This lavish evening, sponsored by Performance Santa Fe, brought in a troupe comprising 17 dancers. That is in itself substantial for a touring company, but Morris’ dancers always perform to music played or sung live by members of the company’s music ensemble, which is directed by pianist Colin Fowler. The Oct. 27 performance exemplified how closely these elements of dance and music were interlocked even while occupying separate planes.

Friday November 06, 2015

The Barre Flies: "After You" by Mark Morris Choreographer's Overview

If you look beyond steps to structure, you see in After You idiosyncrasies of Morris’s method of building a dance shared with almost all his work. The foundation is a small array of motifs—individual gestures and poses, phrases (in this ballet, all short, but in other works sometimes much longer), geometric spatial configurations. The curious thing is Morris’s way of recombining these elements throughout the dance independently of the music’s own development (the way the composer explores his ideas for melody, harmony, rhythm, and so on). The choreography fits the music’s phrasing neatly moment by moment, but the pattern it unfolds through time is its own. Morris also wants you to really see his structural ideas: near the end of After You, for example, he shows us a little partnered duet a few times, then has Gillian Murphy (in the first cast) do the same phrase of three stabbing low développés all by herself—Look, Ma, no hands!

Friday November 06, 2015

The Barre Flies: "After You" by Mark Morris Critic's R

If ballets are like woodwork, Morris is a skilled carpenter. The piece was well wrought, and what he does best was on display from start to close: animating the stage with layers of movement. Morris reimagined the tiered hierarchy of classical ballet as something more egalitarian, seeing his cast of twelve dancers as a cross between laborers and courtiers. Isaac Mizrahi’s costumes were on the same wavelength: simple, softly draped tops and wide-legged pants in bright colors.

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.

Wednesday December 31, 1969

Mark Morris Dance Group Hosts Its Annual Free Open House at the Dance Center



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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