Paul Parish reviews l'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato:
Majestic Harmony from a Different Time
The poems are "about' the active and the contemplative lives, but in form, each is an act of wizardry. Milton conjures like a wizard; every few lines he's invoking another spirit to come: Melancholy, or go: "Hence, vain deluding Joys!" The artist that works most like this nowadays is the cartoonist: think of the pink elephants in Dumbo, or the wild visual fantasias that accompanied Robin Williams's verbal cadenzas in The Little Mermaid. And so "laughter holding both his sides" makes an appearance like a demon taking possession of dancers rolling round the floor holding both their sides, and Fancy's child shows up as the force driving a dance that's so funny people who've never seen it before are laughing and crying and slapping themselves.
What makes the show work is that all this imagery—which can be shockingly literal, or graphic—rises like rainbows, or mirages or sandstorms, imperceptibly out of movement that is so rhythmically flexible and appropriate, you can not question the validity of the apparitions when they arise—or when they fade.
And Rachel Howards reviews the mixed rep program, including Morris's new dance, All Fours: A Dark Look at a Dark World
If the revival of L’Allegro lulled us with known comforts, the world premiere one week later caught us off-guard with its foreignness and risk, and broken violin strings proved the least of its treacheries. All Fours, set to Bartok’s disturbing fourth string quartet, is very unusual for Morris. So much of Morris’ work carries the pedigree of high modernism, and yet this new piece seems to channel the early 1930’s classic modernism of Graham and (as far as I can deduce not from first-hand viewing but from photos, reading, and videos) especially Humphrey. An eight-person chorus in black buzzes anxiously about the stage, stalking like birds of prey, raising hands in desperate prayer above heads. They are not, as in so many Morris dances, a group of individuals, but a mass, the faceless force of society itself. Their echelons and their faintly beatnik attire and especially the way they strike strident poses on the music’s harsh chords—arms held with clenched fists, one hand covering ear with the other held as if to keep an evil force at bay—speak from a different age.