Press Room

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 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 06, 2015

The Barre Flies: "After You" by Mark Morris with ABT's Isabella Boylston

The work itself is very different from Balanchine or Petipa. Mark’s work is not about flash; he doesn’t care about tricks or gimmicks, and that presents its own challenges. He constantly tells us to “dance under”, even for performance. He doesn’t want a typical performance quality — nothing presentational in any way. Instead he wants a very natural quality, and it feels very natural, but you have to be especially engaged and present; you can’t have any mannerism. To keep it pure takes a lot of focus.

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.

Friday November 06, 2015

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

Morris takes pains to show us a range of classroom steps—from sprightly jetés to melting renversés—with an emphasis on light-footed moves, which the choreographer may juxtapose ingeniously. Traveling across the stage in tandem, for instance, one dancer performs a turning jump while his partner leaps sideways. To this received vocabulary, Morris adds no-nonsense pedestrian striding; along with gestures, like the sweeping arm with which a dancer invites her companions to join her; and contemporary inventions, like the moment when a woman rests her hand on the floor and her partner circles holding her feet. After You might even be thought of as a post-modern Études—which is not so crazy, if we remember that Morris used some of Czerny’s music for his Canonic 3⁄4 Studies.

Friday October 23, 2015

Dancers without borders: Mark Morris

An interview with Mark Morris by Pasatiempo.

Tuesday October 20, 2015

Mark Morris Talks Dancers Away from Convention

For all the nonverbal grace of ballet, a studio rehearsal with choreographer Mark Morris is a hyper-verbal affair.

Some comments are direct: “Facial expression! You’re looking at the inside of your heads?!”
Some are counterintuitive: “More and less.”
Others are morsels of praise: “He doesn’t look like an a—hole!”

The occasion for the rehearsal was American Ballet Theatre’s upcoming presentation of Mr. Morris’s “After You,” which the company will dance Wednesday night and throughout its fall season at the David H. Koch Theater.

Friday October 16, 2015

Choreographer Mark Morris Brings His Dance Group to Atlanta

Mark Morris discusses with "City Lights" executive producer Noel Morris about his crafta nd the underlying philosophy that guides his articstic life on Atlanta's 90.1 FM NPR station.
Listen to the interview >

Thursday October 15, 2015

Preview: For legendary choreographer Mark Morris at the Rialto, the beat still goes on

Fifteen years after its last visit to Atlanta, The Mark Morris Dance Group and the MMDG Music Ensemble will perform three works Saturday, October 17, 8 p.m. at the Rialto Center for the Arts: Pacific (1995), Festival Dance (2011) and A Wooden Tree (2012). While these may not be his most famous works, anything by Morris is a must-see.

Monday October 12, 2015

Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble will appear at the Rialto

There is a simplicity in Mark Morris’ speaking, and in his choreography, that belies the deep knowledge of music, mastery of form, and breadth of human expression that have earned him recognition as one of today’s pre-eminent living choreographers. This Saturday, his New York-based Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble will make its first Atlanta appearance in nearly 15 years at the Rialto Center for the Arts.

Sunday October 11, 2015

Review: American Ballet Theater in Mark Morris's Take on Manners

“After You” is a dance of civil behavior, of good manners that include good humor. Its courtesy is the courtesy of ballet, of orderly entrances and exits and the sharing of stage space, but also of classical music. The music is the piano septet in C by Johann Neopuk Hummel, a student of Mozart and contemporary of Beethoven. Apart from its inclusion of a trumpet in a chamber setting (the source of the septet’s “military” label), the score is conventional, distinguished mainly by the balance among its instruments, politely passing around thematic material like dishes at a dinner party. Even the trumpet is modest. It is this balance that Mr. Morris mirrors.

Friday October 09, 2015

Bessie Nominee Profile: Lauren Grant

Lauren Grant has been nominated for her overall body of work with Mark Morris, New York's seismic force in modern, inter-genre dance. In a Mark Morris Dance Group show, Grant is instantly recognizable—under five feet tall, she's the blonde, electric spark leaping across the space, a kindling flame in works like TheHard Nut, Mozart Dances and L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. Morris may keep his work moving among classifications, but he has maintained a serious playfulness throughout his oeuvre, and Grant embodies that spirit of play whenever she's onstage.

Tuesday September 08, 2015

Modern Moves: Mark Morris Dance Group Performs at Juniata College

HUNTINGDON, PA.-- The Mark Morris Dance Group, a groundbreaking artistic ensemble noted for technically-dazzling-yet free-flowing choreography and the use of humor and eclectic musical choices in its dances, will perform three acclaimed works, "Words, A Wooden Tree, Grand Duo" at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. 

Tuesday June 30, 2015

Mark Morris premieres a friendly frolic at Tanglewood

Near the end of Mark Morris’s new dance “The,” couples sway happily in each other’s arms before circling the stage, side by side, running, their clasped hands uplifted. On Friday night, this little victory lap felt particularly resonant: Earlier, the Supreme Court had given us much to celebrate, and those sweetly jubilant duos — male-female, male-male, female-female — said so much, as dance often does, without a word.

Friday June 26, 2015

Review: Mark Morris Conducts at Tanglewood, and Offers a Debut

There’s nothing unusual about Mr. Morris’s affinity for Baroque dance rhythms. And as his immensely appealing dancers move about in joyful order, you might not ascribe much significance at first to how some of them sink to the ground and have to be helped back up. But at the start of the adagio section, the entire cast is sprawled out — dead, sleeping or drugged — save for Sam Black, some Orpheus or Ulysses in the Underworld. With his assistance or without, the others might rise to their feet, but only to sink back down, wriggling... It remains unspecified what the titular article modifies, but if one thing is definite about this of-the-moment dance, it’s that Mr. Morris knows his Bach.

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.

Monday June 22, 2015

Mark Morris, 600 Highwaymen offer invigorating theater pieces at Festival

Morris created a stunning, visually thrilling evening of movement and music that proved positively thrilling as the dancers were on stage virtually the entire time adding a dimension of motion designed to build upon the exuberance of Handel’s music and the opera’s libretto. All in all, it was a dandy way for this reviewer to jump into the Festival.

Sunday June 21, 2015

An Aesthetic Festival

Mark Morris knows how to play to audiences who want their high culture fun, and Acis and Galatea is an appealing show. Its pastoral aspects celebrate the turn to full summer and, without overdoing it, set true love against mere lustful thrills. The opera’s lyrics, by John Gay with help from Alexander Pope and John Hughes, flaunt the pastoral’s romance of nature with classical appreciation. With Morris, we're never in the wilds or even in Arcadia, but rather a zesty world of comic lust, everyday love pangs, and celebratory pageantry, tricked out with consummate artistry.

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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