Come Spring!

L to R: Domingo Estrada, Jr., Dallas McMurray, and Aaron Loux in Mark Morris's Pacific. Photo: Hilary Schwab

The Mark Morris Dance Group performs at BAM. Was it George Balanchine who said he wanted us to see the music and hear the dancing when we were watching his ballets? Maybe he said only the first part of that. Mark Morris, I think, hopes for something similar when we see his choreography—not meaning that we should hear feet hit the floor, but that the dancers carry the music in their bodies, … [Read more...]

Everybody, Fall for Dance!

Laurel Lynch and Billy Smith in Mark Morris's Words. Photo: Ani Collier

The Fall for Dance Festival returns to New York's City Center Theater, October 8-19. It’s time to Fall for Dance again. The so-named City Center Festival now in its eleventh year continues its admirable message to expose New Yorkers and visitors to a wide range of dance companies via adroitly mixed bills. For $15 a ticket, spectators can explore territory that’s new to them. You’re a fan … [Read more...]

A Fountain of Music and Love

The Mark Morris Dance Group in Acis and Galatea. Photo: Ken Friedman

Mark Morris directs and choreographs Handel's Acis and Galatea for Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. It is beguiling to imagine George Frideric Handel’s pastoral opera Acis and Galatea receiving its first performance at the Duke of Chandos’s mansion on the terrace overlooking the gardens and their newly installed fountain. If the part about the terrace were true, guests at this 1718 … [Read more...]

Good News from San Francisco

San Francisco Ballet  dancers (L to R) Shane Wuerther, Luke Ingham, and Luke Willis court Sofiane Sylve in Alexei Ratmansky's From Foreign Lands. Photo: Erik Tomasson

The San Francisco Ballet comes to Lincoln Center with two mixed bills of ballets by seven choreographers. The artistic director of a large ballet company must have headaches rather different from those of a Wall Street trader. His (and such directors tend to be male) “stocks” are highly volatile. Helgi Tomasson, who leads the San Francisco Ballet, can make predictions about how ballets by … [Read more...]

Two Brits and Mark

The Ferryman (Edward Nelson) and the Chorus in Benjamin Britten's Curlew River. Photo: Hilary Scott

The Mark Morris Dance Group and Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Festival performs operas by Benjamin Britten and Henry Purcell. Mark Morris has journeyed into music in other ways beside making dances to compositions he loves. He has conducted orchestras, directed and choreographed operas. Two works presented in Tanglewood’s airy, wooden Seiji Ozawa Hall reveal his sensitivity to music in … [Read more...]

Dancing Love and Love of Dancing

Hee Sao and David Hallberg in American Ballet Theatre's production of Frederick Ashton's A Month in The Country. Photo: Morty Sohl

American Ballet Theatre’s new production of Frederick Ashton’s “A Month in the Country” on a program with Mark Morris’s “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes” and George Balanchine’s “Symphony in C.” Metropolitan Opera House, May 21-23. Frederick Ashton’s A Month in the Country distills the five acts of Ivan Turgenev’s eponymous play and the passage of several weeks into 40 minutes of dancing, … [Read more...]

For Eyes and Ears

Rita Donohue and Mikhail Baryshnikov (foreground) and (L to R) Aaron Loux, Dallas McMurray, Maile Okamura, and (half hidden) Amber Star  Merkens. Photo: Stephanie Berger

Mark Morris Dance Group. James and Martha Duffy Performance Space, Mark Morris Dance Center, Brooklyn, New York. April 3 through 14. You can’t predict much about a dance by Mark Morris. There’s no doubt that he responds to music and —with love and respect—choreographs that response into what he hears. He acknowledges with great sensitivity a composer’s tempi and structures and atmosphere, … [Read more...]

About That Nutcracker

A dream wedding: Clara and her Prince (Hee Seo and Cory Sterns). Photo: Gene Schiavone

The Nutcracker in its many manifestations is like an attic toy box into which generations of children have tossed the playthings they’ve grown too old for. Amid the dolls and stuffed animals and fairy tales and toy soldiers are folded longings, nightmares, pre-pubescent thoughts of sex, and fear of growing up. The ballet by Lev Ivanov that premiered in St. Petersburg in December of 1892 has … [Read more...]

In Season

The peerless Herman Cornejo in Ratmansky's Symphony #9. Photo: Gene Schiavone

Hello!  Goodbye! American Ballet Theatre’s City Center season came and went with dispiriting speed—seven performances in five days (October 16 through 20). The pleasures outweighed the disappointment. New Yorkers could rendezvous with revivals of three ballets in the company’s history: Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo (1942), Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading (1977), and Mark Morris’s Drink to Me Only … [Read more...]

Midsummer, Music, Morris

The Mark Morris Dance Group in Festival Dance. Photo: Stephanie Berger

  In 1931, Noël Coward walked out of the first public performance of William Walton’s Façade: An Entertainment in 1923, and a critic described the music for flute, clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, cello, and percussion as “relentless cacophony.” Coward may have been put off by the fact that Edith Sitwell, the author of the poems that formed Walton’s libretto, sat behind a screen and read … [Read more...]