Music-Driven Movement Mark Morris Dancers Respond to Works from Bach to Yoko Ono

By April Austin, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 19, 1990 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Music-Driven Movement Mark Morris Dancers Respond to Works from Bach to Yoko Ono


April Austin, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


MARK MORRIS has more than carved a niche for himself in modern dance, if anybody needs reminding. His six-show engagement in Boston, which ended Sunday, was a potent demonstration of the wit, theatricality, and musical sense of this American-born, Belgium-based dancer/choreographer.

Morris's works are bonded to music. It's hard to think of any modern choreographer who can match him in the fusion of movement to melody, which seems out of style in the stark imagery of most modern dance. He has created dances for his company, the Monnaie Dance Group, using everything from Brahms, Purcell, and Bach to Yoko Ono and country-and-western. He is a master of variations in tempo and rhythm, and his flourishes of humor are well-placed.

The Boston program - Morris opens at the Brooklyn Acadamy of Music tomorrow with a different work - began with the beautifully fluid "New Love Song Waltzes" set to Brahms. Morris has completely captured the rise and fall of the music and the currents underneath. He uses the momentum of Brahms's waltz rhythm, but not in a slavish or overtly pretty way. "Waltzes" lends itself to commentary about the permutations of relationships, the pull and release of emotion. There's also the sense of child's play, of games, in the dancers' attitudes.

The 20-odd dancers of the Monnaie are an enormously interesting bunch. They are of different ages, shapes, sizes, and temperaments. A few are uneven as performers, but the majority have shaped Morris's work to their own bodies and use his choreography persuasively.

Another strength of their performances is that the music is generally live. A quartet of Boston-area singers joined the Monnaie's two pianists for the Brahms. The vocal and piano ensemble was seamless, smooth, and exquisite, with particularly affecting work from tenor William Hite and mezzo Gloria Raymond. It was breath-catching stuff.

The most-anticipated piece, aptly named "Behemoth," was danced to silence. But here, it seems, Morris lost his magical touch. Danced against the back wall of the theater, the piece was accompanied only by the sounds of the dancers' feet and occasional hand claps (unless you count the rustles of programs, leg-shifts, or coughs in the audience).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Music-Driven Movement Mark Morris Dancers Respond to Works from Bach to Yoko Ono
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?