Mark Morris Dance Group Premieres Four Videodances Online, May 28
The Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) will livestream Dance On! An Evening with the Mark Morris Dance Group, an online event premiering four short videodances by Mark Morris, choreographed and rehearsed for the first time entirely via Zoom videoconference. The free event will be streamed Thursday, May 28 at 7:30 pm ET.
The new works include: Lonely Waltz, to Maurice Ravel's La Valse; Sunshine, to "You Are My Sunshine" recorded by Gene Autry; Lonely Tango, to an excerpt from the piano suite Sports et divertissements by Erik Satie; and Anger Dance set to the music of Henry Cowell. The dances will be followed by a live, online question-and-answer session with Mark Morris and Colin Fowler, MMDG Music Director.
"With the novel coronavirus upon us all, we are left stymied and hobbled. How can we do what we do, with no congregating, no traveling, no theaters, no audience, and maybe strangest of all, no touching? How best to stay current with our large and loyal following? How can we put on a show?" asks Artistic Director Mark Morris. "I refuse to accept the idea of obsolescence and I'm not retiring any time soon! So here is what we've come up with for now: four brief videodances that I hope will surprise, delight, move, and (yes!) entertain."
Originally conceived as a longer work for live performance, Lonely Waltz is a three-minute piece set to the two-piano, four-hands arrangement of Ravel's La Valse that was rehearsed solely via Zoom. For this videodance, Morris used dance phrases for couples and singles created earlier in the year that would work in a limited space and that still have visual interest. Both piano parts are performed by MMDG Music Director Colin Fowler, who also collaborated with Morris to edit together the music and videos of all 18 company members.
Sunshine, Lonely Tango, and Anger Dance were also rehearsed remotely using Zoom. The first in a series of minimalist dances to American popular songs, Morris began work on Sunshine earlier this year as part of his legacy plan, "Dances for the Future," the reserve of new dances to be premiered when he is no longer choreographing. Lonely Tango, in Morris' own words, "is a Danse Noire; a mystery, a puzzle, unresolved." He recently choreographed the music in an entirely different way, as part of the bigger dance Sport (2019). Finally, Anger Dance is a composition of camera-oriented moves, simple and varied and repeated, that are generated by the dancers. Morris used this music for a piece he performed with The Muppets on "Sesame Street" in 1998. The pieces feature the company in short videos shot in and around their homes.
"It's been both stimulating and challenging to experience Mark's choreography through a totally different lens. To witness Mark and the company adapt their creative muscle to create art under very different circumstances has inspired me to do the same. It's also been thrilling to edit their work into beautiful films in collaboration with Mark," says Colin Fowler, MMDG Music Director.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MMDG has cancelled all in-person programming until further notice. Dance On! An Evening with the Mark Morris Dance Group is its latest digital offering, joining live and on-demand video classes, excerpts from performances, documentaries, interviews with Mark Morris and dancers, and behind-the-scenes features.
The streamed event is free. You must register via email to receive a personal link to the live stream. To register, visit: https://markmorrisdancegroup.org/event/05-28-2020-dance-on-online-event/