Marga

Remembering Marnee Morris

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I have read via her NYCB friends and co-dancers' posts on Facebook that Marnee Morris has died. I could not find anything on Google to verify her death, as required by Ballet Alert, but thought that the cross next to her name on the New York City Ballet's alumni roster would supply the needed proof.

Cross added to Marnee Morris' name

This news saddens me greatly, especially since the last many years of her life had been so difficult for her. A massive stroke several years was only one of her health problems.

Marnee Morris was one of the most stunning ballerinas at NYCB in the 60s and 70s. Her fast footwork was enviable - few could match it in technique and precision. A smile on her face belied the remarkable movements she performed with her lower limbs, her arms aiding her in staying aloft during swift choreography. I was on the edge of my seat the moment she sprang from the wings.

Morris danced a fantastic, sexy "Rubies" and was stellar in the original cast of "Who Cares" (especially in 'My One and Only'). Her long limbs graced "Apollo" with their elegance. In the original cast of the war-inspired "Symphony in 3 Movements", she displayed her iconic rhythmic fidelity to the beat (made more difficult by the Stravinsky score) in Balanchine's angular modern choreography.

Thanks for the memories, Ms. Morris! You are missed. May you rest in peace. :flowers:

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As has inexplicably happened before, this topic posted twice. Moderators, please delete the excess posting. Thanks!

Edited by Marga

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I am very sorry to hear this, Marga.

The cross next to her name on the NYCB website is an official source by BA policy, since it is confirmation of her death by the company.

Rest in peace, Ms. Morris.

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the impressions Morris left on my viewing experiences of, in particular, the Valse Bluette in Balanchine's SWAN LAKE or as the WHO CARES? ("Embraceable You") ballerina, stay with me as i see those parts over the years.

after first posting this, a friend wrote, on hearing this news, about the unforgettable performances MM gave as one of two soloist (the other was Mimi Paul) in Balanchine's DON Q. i was lucky enough to have see this, and tho' it didn't surface immediately, now that my memory's been jogged, i can still MM's brilliant performance in this role.

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She is one of the few NYCB dancers one can actually see fairly often on tape: she appears in Dance in America's recordings of Four Temperaments (she's the First Theme woman) and Divertimento No. 15. I'd have to do some sleuthing, but I bet she's in that Italian film (1969?) of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Any others people can think of? As others note, she was in the original cast of Who Cares?, but I don't think she appears in the Dance in America version of it taped in the 80s (?).

Interesting fact about that tape of 4Ts: MM was slightly bowlegged, so before she begins the steps, she stands in plie so that the light from the cyclorama doesn't appear between her knees--she straightens her legs just before taking her first step. An interesting accommodation made for an extraordinary dancer!

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She does, however, appear in the Canadian film of Who Cares? made c 1971.

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She does, however, appear in the Canadian film of Who Cares? made c 1971.

Thank you! Do you have any more info about that film?

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She does, however, appear in the Canadian film of Who Cares? made c 1971.

Thank you! Do you have any more info about that film?

From the Library's catalog:

Le New York City Ballet: Une école, un style, une compagnie, un repertoire [motion picture]1971.

Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance

*MGZHB 12-583 - USE IN LIBRARY

2 reels. 66 min. 2358 ft. : sd. b&w. ; 16 mm.

A production of Radio-Canada, telecast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1971. Text: Jean Basile. Narration in French: Leo Illial. For a separate copy of Who cares?, see: *MGZIA 4-1378 Who cares?.

Choreography: George Balanchine. Performed by the New York City Ballet. Pianist: Gordon Boelzner.

SUMMARY: A documentary about New York City Ballet (with still photographs and films of rehearsals), the School of American Ballet, company management and personnel. Includes three ballets by George Balanchine, who appears in rehearsals.

Contents CONTENTS. - Reel 1. Tarantella. Music: Louis Moreau Gottschalk; performed by Patricia McBride and John Clifford. Movements for piano and orchestra (Image appears on film in reverse of actual performance positions). Music: Igor Stravinski; soloists: Kay Mazzo and Anthony Blum. Who cares? (beginning). Music: George Gershwin; soloists: Patricia McBride, Marnee Morris, Karin von Aroldingen, Jean Pierre Bonnefous. - Reel 2. Who cares? (to conclusion).

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She is one of the few NYCB dancers one can actually see fairly often on tape: she appears in Dance in America's recordings of Four Temperaments (she's the First Theme woman) and Divertimento No. 15.

Unfortunately, in both cases that's Marjorie Spohn. She is in the 1968 Concerto Barocco, with Farrell and Ludlow.

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She is one of the few NYCB dancers one can actually see fairly often on tape: she appears in Dance in America's recordings of Four Temperaments (she's the First Theme woman) and Divertimento No. 15.

Unfortunately, in both cases that's Marjorie Spohn. She is in the 1968 Concerto Barocco, with Farrell and Ludlow.

DARN IT you are right! SO sorry about that!!!

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Also the German video of Symphony of C, fourth movement (and possibly La Valse in that same series). Also the Rubies 'tall girl' in the truncated Rubies presented on a 70s video of ballet (title to be determined when I find my list) with text written by Arlene Croce.

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I'm so sorry to hear of her passing. Has anyone seen an official obituary?

thank you!

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Marnee Morris died on May 28th, 2011. Her children have started a facebook page in tribute to her and to remember her and ask for posts from those who knew her. The page is called 'Marnee Morris Memorial'. I got the information from Linda Hamilton who posted it on her facebook page.

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Marnee Morris died on May 28th, 2011. Her children have started a facebook page in tribute to her and to remember her and ask for posts from those who knew her. The page is called 'Marnee Morris Memorial'. I got the information from Linda Hamilton who posted it on her facebook page.

Full of wonderful photographs, most of which seem to be culled from former NYCB-er John Clifford's collection.

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It's John Clifford himself who is posting his pics to the site!

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It's John Clifford himself who is posting his pics to the site!

Yes--one can cull from one's own collection. And I'm glad he is. Makes me wonder how many others he must have!

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I believe she was second violin in the CBC recording of Concerto Barocco with Suzanne Farrel -- she was thrilling in it ,esp the last movement....

She is one of the few NYCB dancers one can actually see fairly often on tape: she appears in Dance in America's recordings of Four Temperaments (she's the First Theme woman) and Divertimento No. 15. I'd have to do some sleuthing, but I bet she's in that Italian film (1969?) of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Any others people can think of? As others note, she was in the original cast of Who Cares?, but I don't think she appears in the Dance in America version of it taped in the 80s (?).

Interesting fact about that tape of 4Ts: MM was slightly bowlegged, so before she begins the steps, she stands in plie so that the light from the cyclorama doesn't appear between her knees--she straightens her legs just before taking her first step. An interesting accommodation made for an extraordinary dancer!

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I believe she was second violin in the CBC recording of Concerto Barocco with Suzanne Farrel -- she was thrilling in it ,esp the last movement....

But don't quote me on this--as someone pointed out, I got this wrong!

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not incorrect, ray, marnee morris is the second violin in that concerto barocco recording, suzanne farrell is the first and the man is conrad ludlow.

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not incorrect, ray, marnee morris is the second violin in that concerto barocco recording, suzanne farrell is the first and the man is conrad ludlow.

Thanks, but the second part of my message was wrong--I can't even bear to replicate it here! :o

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I knew her briefly in Los Angeles when she was dancing for John Clifford's Los Angeles Ballet. We would take classes together. She would make me laugh when she would say that she wanted to be by me because I was "so together" and that I would keep her on track with "what she needed right now". I'd go to lunch with her and we would talk about health, about her child (a son, I believe) and about her career, her life after her career and her dreams of opening a holistic ballet academy.

She was a warm and wonderful human being. She was very kind to me and we both enjoyed each other's company. She gave me tickets to see her perform with LA Ballet and whatever doubts I had about her being in shape were dispelled when she was onstage. Open, gracious, radiant, exquisite, musical and with a definite love of what made her happy.....dancing.

Rest in peace, Marnee. Dancing angel, still smiling amidst all the hardship.

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Like Marga and others, I definitely remember Morris in "My One and Only" from Who Cares? (I last saw this ballet in 2010 and always remember Morris when watching it.) There were many other roles to which she brought technical sparkle and a warm stage personality. A small solo in the last act of Balanchine's Don Quixote, with a wonderful variation, pops into mind -- one of the ballet's highlights for me.

Seeing the name "Marnee Morris" on a cast list was always a pleasure.

Morris was one of the young dancers brought into the company before the move to Lincoln Center, the same year as Farrell, I believe. She was one of those dancers shunted to secondary roles and second casts during the time of Balanchine's fixation on Farrell. This must have been discouraging.

I hope she knew just how much her audience loved her dancing, and that this knowledge helped sustain her during her difficult times and long illness.

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scan of a photo of Morris, undated, and stamped with little information other than the name of NYCB and of "Rubies," the ballet's name in which Morris danced the solo ballerina, originally performed by Patricia Neary.

post-848-079713400 1313028461_thumb.jpg

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Thought I'd add this, which I found recently:

Info about the tragic death of an NYCB alumna, a few months ago:

By Judy Atchinson, the Schenectady Gazette:

Dance honors

This next item saddens me intensely. Marnee Morris, one of Schenectady’s own, died recently. Born and raised in this town. I studied piano for many years with her father, and I was 7or 8 years older than she. Her first love was ice skating, and as I visited her house weekly I would see her skating on the ice rink in the back yard. Her father had constructed it and kept it flooded and swept clean.

She moved on from skating to ballet and was a soloist under Balanchine with the New York City Ballet. Her epitaph and a photo of her at SPAC are on my wall posted by Heather. Dance magazine writes movingly of her sweetness and openness. But her life hit a downhill spiral and she contracted HIV in 1990. AIDS/HIV touches all of us. Support the Aids walk and other such programs. Too many people here die from AIDs/HIV.

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