Aaron Loux, on dancing for Mark Morris

Chelsea Lynn Acree and Aaron Loux in “Acis and Galatea." Photo by Andrea Mohin for the Times.
Chelsea Lynn Acree and Aaron Loux in “Acis and Galatea.” Photo by Andrea Mohin for the Times.


When I interviewed the dancer Aaron Loux for my Times feature on the Mark Morris Dance Group’s BAM season, he reflected on what it’s like to dance for Mark Morris.  What he said has stuck with me:

“I had to unlearn a way of thinking about dance that was too complicated. I came in trying to think about everything I was doing before and even while I did it….Mark’s approach is really simple, it’s really all about action. A lot of his corrections are just ‘do this, and don’t think about it.’ It’s about learning to do really simple things like seeing someone do something and copying what they’re doing, and the way they’re doing it. I think it’s about opening yourself and quieting down the thinking part and trusting your instincts. You can usually get a better result that way, and faster.


An Important Loss for NY dance

Demoralized by the loss of yet another important outlet for dance coverage, Time Out New York, which has decided to fuse dance with theatre and eliminate the full-page interview by Gia Kourlas that was the highlight of each issue. Kourlas’s extended, insightful, and often revealing weekly interviews with dancers and choreographers were an essential resource for every dance lover and their elimination is a huge loss.

If you feel moved to action, please write to:

Editor-in-Chief Terri White <terri.white@timeout.com>, Deputy Editor Carla Sosenko <carla.sosenko@timeout.com>, and Managing Editor Ethan LaCroix <ethan.lacroix@timeout.com> with a CC to letters@timeoutny.com.

Singing and Dancing—Why Can’t they Just get Along?

I recently wrote a piece for The Nation on dance in opera, inspired in part by Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production of Prince Igor (and its famous Polovtsian Dances) for the Metropolitan Opera. The piece is now out. For those of you who have a subscription, it’s avaiable here, and for those who are not, I’ve attached a PDF:


Here’s a short excerpt:

“Thirty or so dancers in pale body paint…appeared from beneath the poppies….With the first note of the women’s chorus…the dancers popped up and began undulating and twisting their torsos, tracing calligraphic shapes with their arms in the air or touching their hearts, their heads. In the faster passages, the dancers jumped over the hedges and ran in zig-zagging paths across the stage. When the chorus sang “Khan! Khan!”, a few of the dancers formed couples, with the men pushing and pulling the women by their necks and long, loose hair. During the finale, the men began jumping more frantically, reaching and kicking until, with the last ringing note, the dancers fell to the ground, once again concealed beneath the flowers.”

Here‘s a little excerpt from the dances, as choreographed by Itzik Galili for Tcherniakov.

And here’s a video of Fokine’s version:



So, which do you like better?

Come Home Charley Patton, a Review (The Nation)

Ralph Lemon in Come Home Charley Patton, Photo by Eric Stone, appeared in Bomb Magazine.
Ralph Lemon in Come Home Charley Patton, Photo by Eric Stone, appeared in Bomb Magazine.

I recently reviewed Ralph Lemon’s new book, “Come Home Charley Patton,” in The Nation. The memoir/travellog is a companion piece to his theatrical work of the same name, and is full of Lemon’s delicate cartoons, photographs, and endless lists of notes from the rehearsal process. It’s an occasionally engrossing, frustrating read. Here’s a link to the review.

And for those who can’t access the link, here is a pdf of the piece.