BWW Reviews: Mark Morris Dance Group: Return to BAM
Mark Morris Dance Group: Return to BAM
By Jennifer Fried
Mark Morris Dance Group has grown so busy touring to places as far off as China or Timor that the company has not performed at BAM since 2012. Morris's work was certainly welcomed with its minimalist, serene, and exceptionally music quality, epitomizing Balanchine's quote, "see the music, hear the dance."
Opening the night was Crosswalk, with music by Carl Maria von Weber. The dancers floated across the stage in a carefree joyous celebration. The carefully planned formations were the center piece of the choreography. The juxtaposition between the quick, agile petite allegro work with the larger sweeping movement mirrored the artful flow of pedestrian traffic through a crowded New York City block. The clarinet within the musical assemble, just as noteworthy as the dancers, created a beautifully playful tone.
The Jenn and Spencer pas de deux captured the sensual, yet awkward, rituals couples partake in. The dancers engage in the typical mating dance that single New Yorkers partake in on a Saturday Night in Williamsburg: caught between lust, independence, neediness, destruction, joy and attraction that may never find a true resolution. Jenn Weddle stole the stage in her sweeping mauve dress.
To conclude the evening was the long awaited New York premiere of Spring, Spring, Spring, set to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (1913). As a fan of the Hard Nut, I was delighted to see another Morris remark of a ballet classic. Morris played on the pagan themes of Njinsky's work; however, Morris' take is far from the darkness of Njinsky. The dancers fluttered across the stage with a similar joy that New Yorkers feel on the first warm day after winter. Morris stayed away from large bravura movement in order to focus the audience's eye on the perfectly musical formations, most notably when the dancers arrange themselves into a musical kaleidoscope. The dancers become the instruments, allowing the music to become visual.
Mark Morris Dance Group was a welcome return to Brooklyn. In the contemporary dance scene, often movement comes first, and music is fit into the pre-arranged movement which can leave a piece feeling a bit empty. The genius of Morris as a choreographer doesn't come from large, loud movement, but from the simple elegance of allowing the music to breathe life into the movement.
Image Crdit: Wall Street Journal