Dance, music, and history: the Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble – Interview with Michelle Yard

Smile Politely: Mark Morris' choreography is often described in terms of its musicality, and the performances you're touring right now are paired with live, virtuosic classical music performances. Can you talk about what it's like as a dancer to have such an emphasis on music in your performances? 
Michelle Yard: I have danced for Mark for nearly 20 years and every work he creates begins with a piece of music, it is his inspiration and from that a dance is born. Every note in the score is accounted for and choreographed. As a dancer it's sometimes challenging to learn, what I call the DNA of each step. However, ultimately it makes the process very interesting and rewarding to learn and then perform.
Over the years, I have learned that even a piece of music that sounds simple and straightforward is never that, because of Mark's attention to detail and superb ear. His choreography brings the notes on the page to life. The music he begins with and the dance he creates becomes even more varied and complex. And then I can't imagine one without the other.