The Mark Morris Dance Group is back at BAM after three years, with two mixed bills consisting, for the most part, of new works. You can read my review for DanceTabs here.


Aaron Loux and Brandon Randolph in "Words." Photo by Ani Collier
Aaron Loux and Brandon Randolph in “Words.” Photo by Ani Collier

Mark Morris–Plainspoken Poet

Mark Morris at Ojai.
Mark Morris at Ojai.

I spent several months last year working on a profile about the choreographer Mark Morris for The Nation, interviewing current and former dancers, collaborators, and of course Morris himself. The greatest pleasure for me, was attending the Ojai Music Festival, where Morris had been invited to curate the musical offerings. (He is the first choreographer to be asked.) As everyone knows, he has a very musical mind, and his choices for the festival, grouped around the figure of Lou Harrison and the theme of “Western composers,” were eclectic, eye-opening, sometimes infuriating, and often quite thrilling. His next big project is a staging of the Handel opera Acis and Galatea in 2014.

Here is a link to the profile. And a short excerpt: “Morris is looking very pleased with himself, in rumpled cargo shorts, a red polo shirt, matching red socks and Franciscan-style sandals. With his broad chest and even broader belly, a scraggly beard, leonine head of graying hair and gleaming greenish eyes, he looks like a Welsh poet, a mischievous Buddha, a disheveled and possibly disreputable emperor….Something about the arrangement of his limbs as he perches on a stool—the extreme angle of his knees, perhaps—reveals the uncanny flexibility of a former dancer. “I was a fabulously good dancer,” he tells me later, and it’s true, too. I’ve seen the tapes.”

Houston Ballet comes to NYC

Houston Ballet in Mark Morris's Pacific. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Houston Ballet in Mark Morris’s Pacific. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

Houston Ballet made paid the Joyce Theatre a visit this week, with a mixed bill that included works by Mark Morris (Pacific), Ben Stevenson (Twilight, a pas de deux), Hans van Manen (Solo), and Stanton Welch, the company’s artistic director, (Play).

The company looks great, but the rep peaked with Mark Morris’s Pacific and went downhill from there. Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

Ojai Dispatch No. 2

Jenn Weddel and Spencer Ramirez in "Jenn and Spencer" at Ojai. Photo by Timothy Norris.
Jenn Weddel and Spencer Ramirez in “Jenn and Spencer” at Ojai. Photo by Timothy Norris.

…In which the Mark Morris Dance Group steals the show…

The company performed two programs, separated by a concert for toy piano (at dusk). It was an exciting evening of dance. Here’s a link to my review, for DanceTabs.

And here is a short excerpt:

“As always, Morris’s ability to shape the sounds coming from the pit through a combined language of gesture and seemingly simple movement is a constant source of surprise and almost primal satisfaction. Why does the swishing of a hand set to a two-note figure in the strings or a carving of the air to a line of melody feel so right? Who knows.”