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Sunday February 26, 2017
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Mark Morris Dance Group

 

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Among the woefully underfunded, Mark Morris's company — born in 1980 — would seem to be one of the lucky ones. His group experienced three years of lavishly subsidized dance making at Belgium's royal opera house, during which time Morris created three of his most ambitious and acclaimed pieces; in 1990 Morris founded with Mikhail Baryshnikov the White Oak Dance Project, which played to packed theaters around the country; and just a year later he was awarded a lucrative MacArthur Fellowship. Yet it wasn't until 2001 that his company found a proper home — a facility in Brooklyn with rehearsal studios, showers, offices, and a dance school. Now, as his esteemed biographer (and New Yorker dance critic) Joan Acocella has written, MMDG is "an institution."

But that doesn't mean that Morris's development staff can take a vacation. He needs them more than ever to support his serious and exemplary commitment to live music in performance. Morris's choreography embodies an extraordinary creative drive developed from his diverse dance training — Balkan, ballet, Spanish — and perhaps an even greater reverence for music. Like his steps, his musical tastes are eclectic.

Here, the company presents two evenings of repertoire going back to 1983. The capstone of each program is V (2001), a work for fourteen dancers set to Schumann's Quintet in E-flat Major for Piano and Strings. Layered in repeating motifs, the dance's patterns and movements look avian. The cardinal centerpiece of V is the second movement, when the dancers take to the floor, crawling in rhythm to the rapturous score.

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