Magazine article Dance Teacher

Mark Morris B. 1956

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Mark Morris B. 1956

Article excerpt

For the past four decades, few names in dance have stirred up as much reaction as American choreographer Mark Morris. Unique for his outsize persona, superb musicality and taking on themes related to gender and sexuality, Morris is one of the most prolific and lauded choreographers of his generation. At his Brooklyn-based dance center, the former enfant terrible continues to create for his company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and set work on ballet and modern companies worldwide.

Born in Seattle, Morris studied ballet, flamenco and music as a child. After a short stint in Spain as a flamenco dancer, he moved to New York City at 19. He performed in the companies of Lar Lubovitch, Eliot Feld, Hannah Kahn and Laura Dean before founding his own company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, at 24.

On the heels of the 1960s and '70s postmodern era, Morris' work was considered innovative for its same-sex partnering, unabashed theatricality and traditional modern dance technique. Morris also drew attention for using dancers with "real" bodies and being openly homosexual-a fact he embraced in both his work and life. His outspokenness is legendary: Morris was kicked out of the American Dance Festival in 1984 for screaming "No more rape!" during a performance of Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs.

In 1990, he co-founded with Mikhail Baryshnikov the White Oak Dance Project, a touring company of mature, experienced dancers that performed modern choreographers' works. …

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