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Mark Morris Dance Group.

MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP MOSTLY MOZART FESTIVAL NEW YORK STATE THEATER, LINCOLN CENTER, NYC AUGUST 17, 2006 REVIEWED BY ROSE ANNE THOM

Only a few days before his 50th birthday Mark Morris offered us a gift--a glorious triptych titled Mozart Dances. Morris' artistry rose to new heights and his dancers were vibrant and poignant, witty and passionate. They made you smile; they tore your heart out. Although the three musical pieces were created at different times in Mozart's career, Morris' choreographic ideas flowed from one dance to the next, subtly reconfigured so that together the dances were more than their exquisitely detailed parts. The transcendent choreography responded to the delicacy of Mozart's magic, illuminating the details of melodic invention and variation as well as the powerful emotional qualities of each movement.

Morris' collaborators in this celebration of Mozart's 250th birthday were outstanding, including the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, conducted by Louis Langree, with pianist Emanuel Ax. The backdrops, by Howard Hodgkin, consisted of large black smudges on white backgrounds, evocatively lit by James Ingalls. The splendid costuming was designed by Martin Pakledinaz.

Although the opening of "Eleven" (Piano Concerto No. 11) displayed all 16 dancers, within a few minutes the men had disappeared. The deliciously robust Lauren Grant, in a little black dress, led the other women, costumed in sheer black gowns. Grant's solo moments, to the piano, articulated many of the choreographic motifs for the evening: arms in a circle defining space around the body, or a straight arm slashing upward while a gesturing leg stretched long and low across the body. She fell to the floor, then abruptly re-adjusted her prostate body, a prosaic action transformed into poetry.

The men followed in "Double" to the Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos. (Here Ax was joined by his wife, Yoko Nozaki.) Joseph Bowie, wearing a chic interpretation of an 18th-century jacket, led the men in purposeful strides that contrasted delicate pas couru and Baroque posturing, with arms in demibras, wrists broken and thumb and third finger elegantly touching. But the heart of "Double" was the stirring Andante, possibly the most extended lyrical adagio ever created for men. In a constantly shifting, recurring circular formation, the men lunged, held each other aloft, and sank breathlessly into the floor. For a brief moment the women, in long, Romantic tutus, joined their rituals and then departed like mysterious, benevolent wills.

For the final "Twenty-seven," to the joyous sounds of Piano Concerto No. 27, the entire company, costumed in white, divided into two groups. But these gave way to myriad spatial designs, reiterating the eloquent physicality of the previous two dances but always with satisfying surprises. Just like a birthday party. See www.mmdg.org and www.lincolncenter.org.
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Title Annotation:Mozart Dances
Author:Thom, Rose Anne
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance review
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:457
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