Jump to content

This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Laura Jacobs on Mark Morris

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 kfw


    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,714 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 06:05 PM

Mark Morris at BAM


#2 Alexandra


    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,301 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 06:53 PM

Thank you for posting this, kfw. It's a very interesting piece -- for those who want a one-stop-shopping piece on Morris's career, please take a look. While giving full measure to his early works, Jacobs is less fond of his later ones. Here's a paragraph from late in the piece:

Most of what I’ve seen of Morris’s choreography in recent years has been work outside his company. It isn’t cheering. His stagings for opera often lack coherence. And his dances for ballet companies have been openly contemptuous of classical ambitions. Are ballet directors so hard-up for choreographers, or just totally clueless? In A Garden, premiered by the San Francisco Ballet in 2001, Morris holds the dancers to the ground as if pinning down the corners of a canvas tent. He allows them insipid leitmotivs that have no metaphorical spin or even juice and instead just leave you scratching your head: That spindly tendu with arms hovering waist level, stiff like a Barbie doll—why do we keep getting that pose? He shaves away hierarchy as if it were a wart. It’s not only painful to see a willow like Muriel Maffre attempting to blend with the daisies in the corps, it’s perverse. Sandpaper Ballet, worse still. Let’s sand down the dancers, sand down distinctions. Everyone’s dressed in green unitards, the grade-school green of molding clay, and in drill formations they prance and wag rump en masse to the kitsch music of Leroy Anderson—Gumby does the Conga—all the while smiling like fools.

There's a good bit here on Taylor too.

#3 dirac


    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 29,657 posts

Posted 04 June 2003 - 09:37 AM

This is definitely worth a read. Jacobs seems to be saying, a little more sharply, what others have said about Morris' recent work. I don't agree with her entirely about "A Garden" or "Sandpaper Ballet" in particular, but she does have a point about Morris vis-à-vis ballet companies in general. I'm looking forward to seeing Morris' new "Sylvia" on SFB, but how much nicer, and more appropriate, it would have been to have Ashton's "Sylvia" instead, if it could have been managed.

I could have done without some of her other remarks – she seems to be saying in places, Oh he's just so nelly, I can't stand it. I also think that she's complaining about Morris' allegedly "political" agenda while clearly making aesthetic criticisms that are equally "political" in nature, with no acknowledgment of same. (And Sontag has never struck me as the Utopian type.)

The comments on Morris' and Taylor's different view of groups are also worth noting.

#4 grace


    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 584 posts

Posted 17 June 2003 - 05:43 PM

Oh he's just so nelly, I can't stand it

~ "nelly": :confused:

#5 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,468 posts

Posted 17 June 2003 - 06:03 PM

slang for effeminate.

#6 atm711


    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,494 posts

Posted 22 June 2003 - 07:21 AM

That article justifies my avoidance of Mark Morris.

#7 Nanatchka


    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 374 posts

Posted 22 June 2003 - 10:18 AM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by atm711
That article justifies my avoidance of Mark Morris. [/QUo

That article would justify Laura Jacob's avoiding Mark Morris, for sure, but there are many reasons people have for going out of the way to see Mark Morris. I'm among them. By the way, in case you haven't seen the dance, long out of rep, Mark Morris did not wear "a diaper" --as Jacobs suggests, in sarcastic jest--in "O Rangasayee," of course, but a dhoti. That dance evoked an era in American Modern dance characterized by a fascination with the East-- Ruth St. Denis in particular. Morris first performed in at The American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina some twenty years ago. It was one of the most wonderful solos I have ever seen. I haven't loved every dance Mark Morris has made, but I am profoundly grateful that he makes dances. Even masters are capable of clunkers--but in the grand scheme of things, as Robert Gottlieb sometimes says, "So what?" By the way, a current work now in rep, "V," which Jacobs also discusses, was reviewed in Alexandra's "Dance View."

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases. (If it doesn't appear below, your computer's or browser's adblockers may have blocked display):