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 Post subject: Re: Mark Morris Dance Group - Mixed Bill
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2001 2:45 pm 
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Location: London, England
Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligable for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative. <P><BR>What is the simple joy in watching figures move in unison? How can you explain the sheer pleasure in the perfect alignment of arms, legs and heads? Perhaps because it foils the disarray of real life; its unpredictability, its dislocation, the patchwork of ideas, paces and possibilities. There is something defiantly affirmative about 14 bodies leaping in sync, and a sense of resolution that is inherently satisfying.<P>For all the canon and counterpoint in Mark Morris’ choreography, the real high point of his programme at Sadlers Wells is during the magnificent Grand Duo when his dancers function as a kind of neo-chorus line, their bodies making large statements and perfect tableaux. Grand Duo is Morris at his best, and feels like everything dance should be. There is a connection and immediacy which underlines the power of live dance, and a balance - between steps, between dancers and between the choreography and the music - which seals the work complete. <P>There is no battle for attention. When two tribes of dancers are set in dialogue they only serve to compliment each other, just as Lou Harrison’s rolling, melodic, mournful music is the perfect partner for Morris’ driving dance. <P>The other works of the evening might not have quite the same sense of completeness that pervades Grand Duo, but they still reveal a masterful and instinctively musical choreographer. Only in ‘I Don’t Want to Love’, a lyrical sweep through seven Monteverdi madrigals, do the bittersweet suspensions of the music threaten to steal from the movement on stage, which doesn’t quite step into such sublime cadences.<P>A new work, V, finds easy affinity with Schumann’s Quintet in E flat. Its Romanticism lets the company indulge in more balletic moments whilst remaining true to their resolutely ‘turned-in’ contemporary roots. The charm of Morris is that he can meld styles and shift structures without any step seeming out of place, and his company - tight, precise and perfectly poised - can fall from a rose adagio to crawling on all fours with effortless grace.<P>When Morris takes the stage himself, for the solo ‘Peccadillos’ set to Satie’s mesmerising (if slightly Toytown) piano pieces, the door into his dreamlike danceworld swings open. In the way that the sleeping brain connects disparate thoughts, occurences, memories and rolls them into a narrative that seems perfectly natural, Morris subtly skips his way through highland flings, cossack kicks, vaudeville tap and the prim pout of the pantomime dame. And it all makes perfect sense. With weightless steps and utter strength he holds the audience rapt with his imagination, and his undoubtable command of the stage.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Morris Dance Group - Mixed Bill
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2001 9:20 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I've copied this review by <B>jwcw2</B> here from another part of the forum.<P><BR><B>EXPERIENCE BEYOND TEXT</B> <P>Review of Mark Morris Dance Group’s Performance at Sadler’s Wells, London, 17 October 2001<P><BR>Harmonious, diverse, stimulating to all senses. Perhaps this holistic theatrical experience cannot be sufficiently contained in words, but let me try to guide you through this experience.<P>Part of this experience is brought by Mark Morris dancing his own work, Peccadillos. Black and white is he dressed in, and so is the pianist. “The pianist normally accompanies off-stage. How do you notice what he dressed like?” You may ask. Morris surprises us by bringing the pianist, Ethan Iverson on stage. Yet instead of playing a grand piano upstage, Iverson sits downstage on the floor in front of a miniature piano. With his speedy yet coherent movements, Morris works with the music, attacks it and makes jokes about it. <P>As soon as you begin to enjoy the purity and innocence in Peccadillos, Morris tries to share with his audience an entirely different set of time and space by bringing us to a tribal gathering. Grand Duo is performed by fourteen men and women, all in different body types, color and hairstyles. The typical dancer’s body is not typical on stage. Despite all dressed in bright, tribal clothing, every dancer is dressed differently, symbolizing the importance of individuality within the group. With the playful use of lighting by Michael Chybowski, the color on stage harmonizes with the dancers’ pulses. <P>With their expressive emotions and movements, each individual performer interacts with one another. Some duets float while others break. This raw exposition of human nature draws the audience's energy into the tribal group, breaking the barriers between the audience and the performers. As an audience, I gather the energy from the theater as the performance goes. This amazing yet powerful energy gradually transcends into a movement of power. Not only can one hear the audience’s applause, my funky teenager neighbors stand up, and applaud speechlessly with awe. <P>Morris’s witty use of harmony and balances then brings us into another kind of experience in V. Contrasts with the rhythmic music in Grand Duo, V is danced with four movements in Robert Schumann’s Quintet in E flat for piano and strings. Collaborating with the music, men and women form the number(s) “V”. Each dancer’s musicality is so precise, and his/her control of energy is so effective, that no one dominates the performance. Nor does the dance dominate the music. The relationships between the dancers, the dance and the music, and the performers and the audience are complementary, rather than competitive. Each unique element contributes to promote the sense of harmony and diversity in the theater. <P>Morris’s idea of harmony and balances can further be seen in his choreography. Despite the tensions created by the gestures towards the end of the performance, the dancers’ quick yet light turns and jumps generate moments of ease, which again balances the entire dance, and hence, the audience’s emotions. Also, the steps in Morris’s choreography are not standard ballet movements; rather, they are basic steps taken or originated from our daily lives, such as crawling. This freshness is particularly revealing, given the fact that several movements in the dance are deliberately repeated.<P>Perhaps to end a review of a holistic experience as Morris’s, is to invite you to go beyond what is contained in this text, but to experience what Morris has to say in the theater.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Morris Dance Group - Mixed Bill
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2001 10:20 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Many thanks to Lyndsey and jwcw2 for your reviews of this scintillating dance programme. I hope you'll post further commentaries on the remainder of the exciting Dance Umbrella festival. There is no limit to the number of entries you can make to the <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum14/HTML/000021.html" TARGET=_blank><B>New Reviewers' Competition</B></A>.


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Morris Dance Group - Mixed Bill
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2001 11:35 pm 
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Debra Craine of The Times interviews Mark Morris<BR> <BR><B>The one-time enfant terrible of dance is now the world’s most sought-after choreographer</B> <BR> <BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Britain was slow to jump on the Mark Morris bandwagon. While the rest of the dance world was going into spasms of excitement over the flamboyant American choreographer at the start of the Nineties, we were barely aware of his existence. It took the Edinburgh International Festival to put Morris and his company on the British dance map in 1992. Yet now we can’t get enough of him. His company is a regular visitor to our shores; his ballets have become a part of our dance diet. The current British tour by his Mark Morris Dance Group is its biggest to date and underscores the insatiable appetite we have for Morris’s brand of dance.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR> <BR><A HREF="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,342-2001364353,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Morris Dance Group - Mixed Bill
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2001 5:00 am 
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<B>Mark Morris in Edinburgh</B><P>Stuart writes: I'm keeping this going in this thread as the tour is organised by the DU team. In Edinburgh the Company are performing a couple of pieces that were not performed in London:<P><BR>From here we moved on to the unmitigated joy that is Dancing Honeymoon. A sun-dappled peach of a piece, it’s almost impossible to stop yourself smiling proudly and tapping your feet to Morris’s affectionate homage to 1920s music halls.<P>With soprano Eileen Clark perched on the stage belting out such tunes as You Were Meant for Me and Someone to Watch Over Me, Morris and the rest of his yellow-clad dancers acted out the lyrics to hilarious affect.<P>Post-interval, things got a little more serious. Morris choreographed The Office just as the Bosnian war was entering its third year and the dance takes place in the shadow of some sinister unseen threat. <P><A HREF="http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/index.cfm?id=119885&keyword=dance" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Morris Dance Group - Mixed Bill
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2001 1:48 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in Scotland on Sunday<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>A palpable sense of community binds the work of Mark Morris. When the choreographer came to create his version of the happy-ending grand pas de deux for The Hard Nut the entire cast took part because, as he said at the time, "everyone had a hand in it". That same feeling of shared experience and responsibility seems stronger than ever in the programme of works Morris chose for his Dance Group’s long-overdue return to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. <BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.arts.scotsman.com/headlines_specific.cfm?id=4094" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Morris Dance Group - Mixed Bill
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2001 5:53 am 
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Here's a review by Luciana Brett, which was posted elsewhere in the forum:<P>Mark Morris Dance Group<BR>SADLER’S WELLS, 16 - 20 OCTOBER 2001<P>The pure joy of moving leaps from the dancers’ bodies. They consume the space with outstretched, open arms; quick, dynamic runs and sprightly jumps.<P>What strikes you about the Mark Morris Dance Group, formed in 1980 when the choreographer was just 24, is the intimate unity between the dancers and, more surprisingly, between the dancers and musicians. In fact, watching Morris’s work, the reviewer feels the music should be described as much as the dance.<P>In the opening piece, ’I don’t want to love’, a small choir of two tenors and a soprano sing seven Montiverdi songs. The rich voices of the singers are intricately interwoven with the movements of the ensemble, so that no dancer goes solo. This is one of the most refreshing aspects of Morris’s work. As he puts it, "what we call a giant solo in my company is about four bars long."<P>The second piece is in complete contrast and an absolute joy. We see a musician sitting at a tiny piano on stage. His toy-like rendering of Erik Satie’s music launches ‘Peccadilloes’, a solo by Mark Morris himself. Although no longer a young, svelte figure, he surprised us all with this light-footed, playful dance, sparked with little flourishes of joie de vivre.<P>‘Grand Duo’ opens the second act with a striking image of all fourteen dancers on stage; legs grounded, feet apart, their arms and upper bodies slice through the air with sharp, punctured dynamism. It’s in this piece that the dancers really show off their mesmerising unity. Moving swiftly across the stage with accuracy and coordination the group display spectacular group formations and floor patterns.<P>Much was expected of Morris’s new work, ‘V’, receiving its world premiere at Sadlers Wells. Performed to Schumann’s dramatic Quintet in E flat, the dancers are light and fluid in their movements. But amidst their enjoyment lies a rigorous structure of unison and cannon. However this formula becomes relentless, with the dancers often repeating exactly the same movement phrase only in a different direction or with a different partner. Cannon sequences, where, for example, each dancer down the line jumps and turns in the air, only adds to this predictability.<P>By any standards, though, the power of ‘Grand Duo’ is a hard act to follow.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Morris Dance Group - Mixed Bill
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2001 1:03 pm 
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Mark Morris Dance Group<BR>Mixed Programme<BR>Sadler's Wells<BR>Wednesday 17/10/2001<P>The Mark Morris Dance Group has returned to London for a weeklong season at the Sadler's Well's Theater, showing a programme of works that had not been shown in London before. <P>The evening started with "I don't want to love" a piece that was premiered 5 years ago at the Edinburgh Festival. To songs by Claudio Monteverdi, that were performed by Mark Morris's own group of musicians including 2 tenors and a soprano, the dancers seemingly drifted through time finding partners and parting from them, coming together in various groupings just to slip away again. The absolut harmony of movement and music was astonishing to watch. Nothing in Morris's choreography is in any way extreme or forced which enables the dancers to just "be". The piece has got a feeling of soothing tranquility about it that lead to my not wanting it to end. Only <BR>the white, 70s disco style inspired costumes took slightly away from the impression of perfect harmony in my opinion.<P>Next we were treated to "Peccadillos" a solo<BR>danced by Mark Morris himself. Accompanied by Ethan Iverson playing music by Erik Satie on a tiny toy piano, that had been placed on stage, the choreographer, now in his forties, seemingly turned into an animated toy. His lively and playful movements were remarkably fluid although his figure was clearly not as trim as it once had been.<BR>Not that anybody watching cared. The audience was taken by Morris's performance.<P>The evening continued with "Grand Duo", a creation choreographed to a composition by Lou Harrison. This powerful work for the entire company in a way manages to capture the essence of human life itself. The dancers reminded me of an ancient tribe moving through live, evoking a whole caleidoscope of human emotions and experiences. Morris created lots of interesing floor patterns that can probably only be fully appreciated watched from above. All of the dancer, refreshingly of various shapes and sizes, proved to be exceptionally expressive and musical.<P>"V", Mark Morris's latest work, that had received its world premiere only the night before, closed the programme. Set to Robert Schumann's Quintet in E flat for Piano and Strings, it is another wonderful ensemble piece. Devided equally into 2 groups, one in blue the other in a soft greenish white, the dancers interact, mirror and repeat each others movements, creating beatiful patterns in the process. Morris has mixed the more traditional ballet vocabulary with unusual movements, like crawling on all fours, but at no point anyone could possibly doubt the harmony of it all. Mark Morris has a special gift to make music 'visible'that leaves you hungry for more.<P>


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