If you ever wondered why Mark Morris’ choreography had such breadth and wit and intelligence, you only have to talk with him. I found that over the course of several interviews over the years and the Pittsburgh Dance Council audience saw it for themselves after Mark Morris Dance Group’s performance at the Byham Theater (click on Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for the review).
Dressed super-casually in shorts and shirt, with a graying beard, he attracted quite a crowd and didn’t disappoint, jumping on questions he deemed short on critical thinking, but calling one “the best question ever!!”
He’s so-o-o immediate.
Some Q&A tidbits:
Most of it focused on the music, “not live music, just music.” Mark said there was a huge difference between dancing to taped music and making subtle alterations during a music performance. He then asserted that if more choreographers demanded it, like Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp (yes, he named names!), audiences would get it.
Mark fully admitted that he was as highly knowledgeable about music as choreography – “I have the most exquisite taste in music of anyone I know.” His favorite musical centuries are the 18th and 20th. He doesn’t like “heldenleben” (the 19th), probably referring to Richard Strauss, which doesn’t have a discernible, danceable beat. It is music that bleeds and bursts.
For those who think his style of dance looks too easy, he revealed that “you’d be surprised how many people can’t do my work” at auditions were 500 people show up and he only needs “1.5 women.”
Mark doesn’t want to do “suppositories of entertainment.” He creates a show for “adults, not thinking babies.”
Afterwards he went out with Carolyn and William Byham, longtime supporters of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, which also happened to present the outspoken choreographer’s “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes” this season.
More Morris, please.