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Mark Morris Dance Group. Miami, Oct. 14.

16 posts in this topic

I think MMDG is always worth seeing. There are two dancers I find mesmerizing: Lauren Grant and Amber Star Merkins, who I saw earlier in the month in Berkeley dance as an astoundingly moving Dido in "Dido and Aeneas". (Morris choreographed the role for himself.) I also like Rita Donohoe very much.

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Cristian, I would definitely be going if Miami weren't such a trek for an evening performance. Unfortunately, they don't travel with their big, hallmark works. What they have brought down here in the past has been wonderful -- spare productions, almost like a chamber company, but danced in a way that will let you see Morris's style of movement as performed by dancers he has chosen and trained.

Festival Dance, set to music by Johann Nepomunk Hummel, is the one I would most like to see. Joyous social dancing -- set to 18th or 19th-century music -- is something Morris does very well.

For me, Morris is a brilliant choreographer, one of the best to come out of the 20th century. Of course, it is not ballet -- though he can surprise you with lovely ballet movements and often witty comments on ballet aesthetics. I hope you go. And I hope you see things that make you glad you did.

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Agree that they're always worth seeing. (Agree about Lauren Grant, too.) Plainly, Morris hears well - well, not so plainly in "The Hard Nut", which I was content to check out on TV, if I remember correctly, and to pass up when MMDG brought it to my town. But I have a threshold: Some dance I have to see, even at the trouble and expense of traveling if I can manage it. Balanchine's company in his day (i.e. not Martins's); TSFB nearly always, MCB selectively; other dance I'l try to see if they come to me: MMDG, Merce, Paul Taylor Dance Company. By all means, brush up on any music that's a little unfamiliar, and go.

bart's right of course - I'd say that Morris's movement vocabulary is not so developed - I might even say refined - as, say, Merce's, to my eye, is, certainly not as much as ballet; nevertheless...

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Go.

Absolutely, go.

This is not ballet, but in his world, Morris is as important an artist as Balanchine, and the current company is dancing beautifully.

We're seeing Festival Dance here in December, but not the other works (Violet Cavern instead). V is particularly exciting. Go, and then tell us what you saw.

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Unfortunately, they don't travel with their big, hallmark works. What they have brought down here in the past has been wonderful -- spare productions, almost like a chamber company, but danced in a way that will let you see Morris's style of movement as performed by dancers he has chosen and trained.

They don't often tour the big pieces, but they have. "The Hard Nut" was, for quite a while, and biannual event at Zellerbach in Berkeley, and they just performed "Dido and Aeneas" at Zellerbach a few weeks ago. I was privileged to see it, and then "Heart of a Soldier" the next day. (It might not have been great opera, but it was great theater, and I think the only thing preventing it from a long run in NYC is the conversion to Islam by the hero's best friend, a relationship that carries throughout the opera and its most important.)

I've also seen "L'Allegro" in Berkeley and Seattle.

There are 18 dancers on the roster, which I think is smallish for them. (Julie Warden, a long-time audience favorite, although not one of mine, and David Rosenthal, Lauren Grant's husband and one of the most wonderful men to dance with MMDG, are no longer on the roster.) All three big works were made for his residency at Monnaie, and he inherited dancers that were already at the theater to expand his company. "L'Allegro" and "Hard Nut" require big casts. I think "Dido" has a more modest cast of 10-12.

"V" is a wonderful piece.

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From the MMDG website...

Performance Details

October 14-15, 2011

8:00PM

Miami, FL

Adrienne Arsht Center

Ziff Ballet Opera House

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami –Dade County

Ticket Info

Box Office: 305.949.6722

PROGRAM

-Festival Dance

-All Fours

---INTERMISSION---

-V

-----------------------------------------

Program subject to change without notice.

http://markmorrisdancegroup.org/performances/594

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Please go, Christian.

He and Paul Taylor are the greatest choreographers alive today -- and you'll see him with his own group, who understand at a deep level what he wants.

He CAN do ballet, and he's choreographed 8-10 ballets for SF Ballet alone.

but his roots are in folk dancing - as a child he did flamenco, as a teenager he did Balkan folk-dance. He understands many idioms, and his choreography ranges through a number of different vocabularies.

He doesn't always use the dance-figure opened up as big, stretched as long as a ballet company asks for, so the pleasure is more in the rhythmic complexity and the fluency of the movement and the aptness of he big poses when hey come. He really understands entrances and exits and how to use space, the geometry of a dance may be as strict as Petipa while the people look like peasants.

I don't know some of the dances on your show -- But I do know "V" and love it -- it looks a lot like a ballet. And it's very musical in its structure.

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Well done! I'll second all of that! (I have seen V; they've also brought L'Allegro and Dido, and I agree with Helene about them, too.)

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Thank you all for your input and encouragement..! :thumbsup: I will go, definitely, and will report back. :flowers:

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Looking forward to your thoughts. I love Morris very much. But have to admit that the chance to a performance of House of Bernarda Alba would be a very, very tempting replacement. I'd even be tempted by Mat Eks's danced (danced?) version.

You are fortunate, Cristian, to have so many choices down there in Miami. And to think that there are some people who still think of Miami as culture-deprived.

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You are fortunate, Cristian, to have so many choices down there in Miami. And to think that there are some people who still think of Miami as culture-deprived.

It's all about marketing, bart. When you see commercials of Miami or reality shows all you are presented with is the massive input on the club scene and weather/beaches stuff, with some incursions in the plastic surgery world-(as in "Nip&Tuck"). When I came here I decided to explore the city and its neighborhoods, and so how I've found so many interesting places and hidden culture holes here and there.

Anyway...Mark Morris. Sadly, I don't have that much to say about it, because honestly, it didn't completely fulfill me-(although I must confess I wasn't naive about what was I up too... I just like to go everywhere and learn something from every experience). Festival Dance, to Hummel's Piano Trio # 5 n E Major, Op. 83 was a pleasant piece with some classical language on it-(turned out bodies, pointed feet, pretty arabesques etc...)-, with alive and light dancing and a happy feeling, which reminded me a bit of "Dances at a Gathering" sans pointe shoes. It was cute stuff, somewhat folk dance driven.

"All Fours", to Bela Bartók's "String Quartet No. 4", and V, to Schumann's "Quintet in E Flat for Piano and Strings" both bored me. One of them-(can't remember which one)-had an excessive-(to me)-amount of floor crawling, and that was it...When a dancer starts rolling and crawling and standing motionless I start to lose it. In the meantime I decided to fight my neghbours...one lady in the front texting compulsively, another on my right eating non stopping out of a cellophane bag and a third one on my back holding a baby who decded to play...WTH A RATTLE!!!..yes, mid-performance. I wanted to shoot myself, but that, my friends, goes to that other forum on theater behaviors.

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I'm sorry you didn't like it more. If they ever bring "L'Allegro" to Miami, give the company another chance. (Or "Dido and Aeneas" for that matter.)

I'm even more sorry that your neighbors were behaving like they were at the circus.

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I'm sorry that your neighbors were behaving like they were at the circus.

That was not the end, dear Helene. The sad zaga to be found here...

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