The theater has a magic, all it’s own; lights, camera, and action, take me away! Watching a live performance, could be a little kid’s recital or a full-blown ballet, can leave me breathless. Inspiration can be found as easily as opening your eyes in the morning, and seeing a ladybug above your bed. Understanding art is as simple as opening up your eyes, and allowing yourself to feel.
The Mark Morris Dance Group, started in 1980, has needed no introduction for quite some time. A series of tumbling and turning events since its founder, Mark Morris conceived the group has led the dancer with enormous promise to a promise from the MacArthur Fellowship . There has been a residency in Brussels, at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Belgium’s national opera house, shows in San Francisco, and, naturally, the MacArthur Fellowship Fellowship, as well as a space built for dancers in Brooklyn. The company is building a legacy. I was fortunate to talk to Nancy Umanoff, the Executive Director for the Mark Morris Dance Group, about Mark Morris and the group’s personal production philosophy.
“The inclusion of live music in all of our performances is the single most important element of the work. Live dancers, live musicians, live audience members – all together in the dark – sharing the experience in the moment.” Nancy shared this with me, and it is truly a gift, when two genres of art can be seamlessly intertwined, as MMDG manages to do. Mark Morris, the founder and backbone of the group, seeks direction from a variety of sources, “Mark’s work includes hints of many styles of dance from his early training in flamenco, folk dance, ballet and modern dance. He is just as likely to take inspiration from these classical forms as he is from observing a young child sitting on his mother’s lap on a bus.” The movement is an expression of emotion through the body; the exhibition of this is so personal, so unique, different experience gets had by each and every one who views what the Mark Morris Dance Group has to offer, served in style, with grace, elegance to witness, and beauty to behold.
When the show starts, lights go up, and the audience is quiet; a world is built upon a stage. Dancers, taking the form of silhouettes, light up the stage with their magnetism, our eyes drawn to the invisible string, tying us together through art.
If you’re in town, catch the show, at 7:30pm at the Flynn Theater in downtown Burlington, Vermont, and breathe some new life, or visit The Mark Morris Dance Center,
at 3 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn.