I heard from a friend last night that Norman Morris, noted choreographer and former director of both Ballet Rambert and the Royal Ballet, had died. This morning I discovered this anonymous and highly opinionated obituary in The Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... db1502.xml
My memories of Norman Morris go back a long way and I remember him best as a choreographer at home with both narrative and non-narrative works. Personally I was not happy that he ceased creating ballets after becoming RB director.
the received view that Morrice was a failure as a Royal Ballet director - and he tended to be swept behind more famous directors (Kenneth MacMillan and Anthony Dowell) on either side of him -
I don't understand this 'received view' certainly his appointment came as a surprise to most people as we rather thought Nureyev would succeed MacMillan (though some company members favoured Fonteyn for the role) but there was such hostility towards MacMillan in so many quarters that I think it was a bit of a relief when Morrice took over.
As my own interest is primarily in choreography I look back at Morrice's directorship as something of a golden age when new work of quality still appeared on a regular basis. Norman Morrice also encouraged British dancers by his no guest artist policy wich hugely benefitted artists such as Lesley Collier, Jennifer Penney, Wayne Eagling, Stephen Jefferies, Derek Deane and others.
I would give a lot to see Morrice's 'safe' version of swan Lake back at the RB again as there have been too many sub-standard (and expensive) productions foisted on the public since Morrice's tenure as director; at least in this obit he is given credit for his enthusiastic encouragement of young choreographic talent.