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Mark Morris and Mario Batali - interview

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Table talk with Mark Morris and Mario Batali.

Batali: Let me ask you Mark, you do a lot of editing?

Morris: People very often ask me this question and they give me an either-or situation. Do you make everything up and are you a total tyrant, dictator, or does everyone express themselves through improvisation? And the answer is no, the answer is of course I make everything up and of course the dancers do everything and there are many, many open bits. But people imagine that improvisation is a great, free thing to do and in fact nothing is more boring to look at.

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Thanks so much for this link -- I missed it when I zoomed through the paper. Since they're both from Seattle, I was pleased with the local references, but also very interested in the commonalities in their perspectives on their work. I thought this comment, from Batali, but really applicable to both, was just excellent:

"At the end of the day a great restaurant, like a great piece of art or dance, after a certain amount of time in your world, what you're really looking for is to remove the white noise, and make a very fundamental, simple step be the most important thing that the customer will appreciate."

Often, when I see something that is really great, it has that inevitable sense. This particular step, or phrase, or thought -- this, and no other.

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I blew right by it too - thanks for the link!

I loved this quote from Morris:

When I start a piece I have some idea from doing loads of homework, studying the music, thinking, thinking, thinking, procrastinating, which is a big part of my work, the not doing it, and then you get in. And then I make up stuff with my dancers and then I throw it away.

Emphasis mine - can you tell I'd rather do anything today than attack the huge stack of administrivia that I'm supposed to be clearing a path through.

My brush with genius: Mario Batali was one of the cooks at a local pizza joint in the town where I went to grad school. Who knew.

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Morris entertains the audience in a post-performance Q&A in Santa Barbara.

While the dance program itself was certainly memorable, the show seemed to continue after the scheduled performance when the opinionated Mark Morris came onstage to answer audience questions.

Nonchalantly sipping from a glass of wine, Morris brusquely handled the public’s inquiries with an impervious demeanor. His saucy quips, peppered with expletives, inspired both rolls of laughter and groans of chagrin from those who stayed to hear him speak. He discussed his choreographic process, his experience working in Europe, and his controversial dance aesthetic, finishing off with some memorably unprintable advice for the UCSB Senior Dance Company.

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