The internationally-renowned Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) has inspired critics and audiences alike throughout its 34-year history. Founded in New York in 1980 by artistic director/choreographer Mark Morris, MMDG has been called "the preeminent modern dance organization of our time" (Yo-Yo Ma), receiving "highest praise for their technical aplomb, their musicality, and their sheer human authenticity." (Bloomberg News). MMDG spent three years in residence at Brussels' Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie as Belgium's national dance company, returning to the United States in 1991. The Dance Group tours domestically and internationally to great acclaim, and is distinguished as the only modern dance company with a commitment to live music at every performance, founding the MMDG Music Ensemble in 1996. MMDG also regularly collaborates with eminent musicians across genres, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, jazz trio The Bad Plus, the London Symphony Orchestra, baroque orchestras Tafelmusik and Philharmonia Baroque, as well as opera companies such as The Metropolitan Opera and the English National Opera.
Community engagement is woven throughout the company's activities, both at its Brooklyn home, the Mark Morris Dance Center, as well as on tour through its Access/MMDG programming. The Dance Group brings opportunities for dance, music, talks, panels, and education to young children, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and underserved populations.
In Brooklyn, MMDG's Dance, Music, & Literacy Project introduces school children to the performing and visual arts through a 10-week in-school residency that utilizes Morris' celebrated evening-length work, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, to illustrate the interaction of words, music, and dance, and culminates in intimate performances and conversations with the Dance Group. MMDG also offers free dance classes to youth and senior residents of Brooklyn public housing in cooperation with New York City Housing Authority. Dance for PD®, in partnership with Brooklyn Parkinson's Group, provides teacher training and free classes for people with Parkinson's disease in more than 100 communities in eight countries around the world. The Mark Morris Dance Center offers affordable, high-quality dance classes, workshops, and master classes for adults from novice to professional, as well as subsidized rehearsal space for the dance community. The School at the Mark Morris Dance Center additionally provides low-cost dance classes to over 1500 children and teens ages 20 months to 17 years, of all levels and abilities.
"Everything they do is human and marvelous." - The Independent (U.K)
"The Mark Morris Dance Group has long been ahead of all other dance companies in the flow
and detail of its dancers' response to music. And their qualities of focus, stillness, ease are
ones that most actors would envy. " - Alastair Macaulay, Financial Times (U.K.)
About the Artistic Director:
Mark Morris has been hailed as the ""the most prodigiously gifted choreographer of the post-Balanchine era" (Time). Since founding MMDG in 1980, Morris has created close to 150 works for the company, many are widely considered masterpieces. He has been described as "an innovator and a conservative, a satirist and a romantic" (New Yorker) who "easily ranks among the top five living American choreographers… and has already carved a major place for himself in the history of modern dance" (The Denver Post).
In addition to works for the Dance Group, Morris is much in demand as a ballet choreographer. His works have been commissioned and performed by San Francisco Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, to name a few. Renowned as an intensely musical choreographer, Morris is undeviating in his devotion to music. The first choreographer to be named music director of the Ojai Music Festival (2013), he has conducted performances for MMDG since 2006 and has also worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, among others.
He is a named Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, and has received eleven honorary doctorates to date. In recent years, he has received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2007), the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society (2010), the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity (2012) and the Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts (2013).
Morris continues to create new works from his home base in Brooklyn, New York, the Mark Morris Dance Center, which he founded in 2001 to provide a home for his company, rehearsal space for the dance community, outreach programs for local children and seniors, and a vibrant school offering dance classes to students of all ages and abilities.
"[Morris'] choreography presents something profound and of great value: a fresh sense that human expression, in the human body, can soar beyond all limits."
- Robert Pinsky, Poet Laureate of the U.S.
"The musicality for which the choreographer Mark Morris is celebrated reveals itself on multiple levels and in mysterious ways. Two of his most peculiar gifts… are his capacities for responding to a score with a raw innocence and for exposing its deep neurological effect."
"[Morris] is one of those handful-in-a-century creative spirits - think Picasso or Balanchine - who manage to hold our attention while challenging all expectations." - The Times-Picayune
The Influence of Music / Dance Consortium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqn0hZgeZk0
MMDG/NYCHA Partnership: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V__3qanPj88
Dance, Music, & Literacy Project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ-WGHzKrvA
Dance for PD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-dzCc--1rQ