Morris, Mark1956–, American dancer and choreographer, b. Seattle, Wash. After training in Balkan folk dance, flamenco, and ballet, he went on to dance for Eliot Feld, Laura Dean, and Lar Lubovitch. His own company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, debuted in New York in 1980; from 1988 to 1991 it was the resident company the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels. In 1990 he and Mikhail BaryshnikovBaryshnikov, Mikhail
, 1948–, Russian-American dancer and choreographer, b. Riga, Latvia (then in the USSR). He studied in Riga and performed with the Kirov Ballet (1966–74).
..... Click the link for more information. established the White Oak Dance Project, a group formed to choreograph and perform new dance. In 2001 his company moved into permanent studios in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Since the 1980s Morris's dances have attracted great interest for their craftsmanship, ingenuity, musicality, and iconoclastic choreography as well as for their sometimes eclectic accompanying live music; his solo performance of O Rangasayee, for example, was danced to an Indian raga. He won particular acclaim for The Hard Nut (1991), a campily ebullient version of The Nutcracker set in the 1960s. Generally less ironic and more serious in tone, his many other works include L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed Il Moderato (1988); Dido and Aeneas (1989); The Office (1995); Greek to Me (2000), a dance version of the Virgil ThomsonThomson, Virgil,
1896–1989, American composer, critic, and organist, b. Kansas City, Mo. Thomson studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. Until about 1926 he wrote in a dissonant, neoclassic style, but after his 16-minute quintet Sonata da chiesa
..... Click the link for more information. –Gertrude SteinStein, Gertrude,
1874–1946, American author and patron of the arts, b. Allegheny (now part of Pittsburgh), Pa. A celebrated personality, she encouraged, aided, and influenced—through her patronage as well as through her writing—many literary and artistic
..... Click the link for more information. opera Four Saints in Three Acts (2001); a new version of the ballet Sylvia (2004); a joyous vaudevillesque take on PurcellPurcell, Henry
, c.1659–1695, English composer and organist. Often considered England's finest native composer, Purcell combined a great gift for lyrical melody with harmonic invention and mastery of counterpoint.
..... Click the link for more information. 's King Arthur (2006); a new ballet to ProkofievProkofiev, Sergei Sergeyevich
, 1891–1953, Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Prokofiev achieved wide popularity with his lively music, in which he achieved a pungent mixture of modern and traditional elements.
..... Click the link for more information. 's Romeo and Juliet (2008); Socrates (2010), a modern dance piece with sung and spoken text; a dance interpretation of HandelHandel, George Frideric
, 1685–1759, English composer, b. Halle, Germany. Handel was one of the greatest masters of baroque music, most widely celebrated for his majestic oratorio Messiah. Of German descent, he was originally named Georg Friedrich Handel.
..... Click the link for more information. 's Acis and Galatea (2014); and Layla and Majnun (2017), based on an Arabic tale. Morris has used Lou HarrisonHarrison, Lou Silver,
1917–2003, American composer, b. Portland, Oreg. He studied composition in California with Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg. His early work stresses percussion while combining Western, Asian, African, and Latin American rhythms and often using
..... Click the link for more information. 's music for eight dances since 1987; Lou 100: In Honor of the Divine Mr. Harrison (2017) combines five of them. In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he created four video dances collectively titled Dance On! Morris retired as a dancer in 2006.
See his memoir, Out Loud (with W. Stace, 2019); biography by J. Acocella (1993, repr. 2004); J. Escoffier and M. Lore, ed., Mark Morris's L'Allegro, Il Pensoroso, ed Il Moderato (2001); T. Grimm, dir., Dance in America: Mark Morris with the Mark Morris Dance Group (video, 1986).