Press Room

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Mark Morris's Transcendent "L'Allegro," Captured on Film for PBS

Since its premiere in 1988, Mark Morris’s full-length dance staging of Handel’s oratorio “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” has provoked two widespread reactions. One: How blessed we are to live in an age in which such miraculous beauty is made! Two: When will this be filmed and made available to a wider public?

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 March 24, 2015

PBS broadcasting Mark Morris Dance Group on March 27

Morris has a magical ability to transform the everyday into the sublime. He can make the mere act of walking or running into something poetic and profound. He's also a keen listener and observer who frequently unearths hidden meanings in the music and poetry he loves, then clearly communicates his insights through beautiful, sensual movements.

Saturday March 21, 2015

On TV, That Thing with Feathers

Masterpiece isn’t a word to be thrown around lightly, but there’s no denying that Mark Morris’s “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” is thrillingly that. Choreographed in 1988, when Mr. Morris was the director of dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, this production, at long last, has been preserved on film by “Great Performances” and can be seen on PBS on Friday night. (Check local listings.)

Monday March 09, 2015

Staying en-pointe in the world of modern dance

A 3-year-old’s career choices are limitless. Each day they cycle through a new, exciting job, only to abandon it for an even cooler, more fantastic one the next morning. Toddlers spend entire days as astronauts, firemen, sheriffs and every other high-octane career they learned from their Saturday morning cartoons. When Laurel Lynch was 3, she wanted to be a dancer. Twenty-seven years later, she’s still living that dream.

Sunday March 08, 2015

Mark Morris Dance,Taylor Mac Among Arts& Ideas Festival Highlights

Mark Morris Dance Group's new staging of the Handel opera "Acis and Galatea" and a world premiere by performance artist Taylor Mac will be among the highlights for the 20th annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas to be held this June in New Haven.

Friday March 06, 2015

Mark Morris Dance Group warmly welcomed back to Seattle

In an uncertain world, one thing is for sure. Whenever the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) performs locally, audience reaction will be wildly enthusiastic. The fact that Morris is from Seattle has created a special bond between his troupe and the community that birthed him literally and artistically.

Thursday March 05, 2015

Choreographer Mark Morris opens up

“It’s more important to have a product that people respond to in some way, than it is where everyone got along fine, like going to a Disney show or something, where the men are men, and the girls are girls,” Morris said. “So I just think there should be some opportunity for people to experience some kind of excellence.”

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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