Dance and Music
“I’m a musician working in dance,” says Mark Morris, the founder, artistic director and choreographer of the Mark Morris Dance Group. Performance Santa Fe presents this 38-year old company based in New York at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on November 30.
The Mark Morris Dance Group has programmed four works from its extensive repertoire for the Santa Fe performance. One of them, “Grand Duo,” was choreographed in 1993 to music by composer Lou Harrison (1913-2003), who was a good friend of Morris.
Connecting with composers is important to Morris, who builds dances around music.
“Music is always in my mind,” he explains. “I have many friends who are composers and musicians. My love of music is why the dancers move to live, and not recorded, music.”
Morris choreographed “Three Preludes,” a solo dance that’s on the Santa Fe program, for himself in 1992. It’s set to three piano preludes by George Gershwin. The entire company performs “Words,” a 2014 work choreographed to violin and piano music by Felix Mendelssohn.
“The Santa Fe program is really varied and gives audience members a feel for the range of the work we do,” says Morris.
Born in Seattle, Washington where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson, Morris has created close to 150 works for his company since founding it in 1980. He’s been the director of dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium, and the founder of the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Morris is also a ballet choreographer, with 20 works commissioned by ballet companies worldwide.
Morris works extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
A Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991, Morris and has received 11 honorary doctorates and numerous awards for his choreography.