Excursions/A Wooden Tree/Jenn and Spencer/Festival Dance

Sadler’s Wells Theatre
Rosebery Avenue,
London EC1R 4TN

7.30pm (Timothy can’t find any other times online for Mark Morris today Sunday)

Runs: 1hr 45 mins with interval : to 01 12 13

TICKETS 0844 412 4300
Mon–Sat, 10am-8pm
On-line: www.sadlerswells.com;

Review: by Carole Woddis of performance seen Nov 30, 2013

Delights, maturing nicely
Ever since the American choreographer, Mark Morris made his first visit to the UK in 1995 and followed it up a couple of years later with the sell-out L’Allegro, Il Pensoroso ed Il Moderato, he’s been a firm favourite with British audiences.

Making his first return in three years with pieces all new to the UK, Morris shows he’s lost nothing in terms of creative energy or variety.

It would be hard to imagine a more eclectic programme than this four-strand programme which includes A Wooden Tree set to a sequence of songs by the more than mildly eccentric Scottish poet, Ivor Cutler.

Accompanied by his beloved harmonium, Cutler’s songs are subversive and slyly naive. An odd choice, Morris marks them with choreography highlighting their childlike, innocent quality. Cutler’s curious mix of misanthropy and emotional insight nonetheless makes for an unexpectedly uncomfortable twenty minutes.

By contrast, Excursions, Jenn and Spencer, and Festival Dance show all the mellifluous, lyricism that has become the Mark Morris trademark.

In Excursions, Morris makes delicious use of Samuel Barber’s light, pastoral harmonies to create a panoply of loose-limbed movements suggesting walking, playing and just being happy, like watching a crowd of young at a hoe-down with not a care in the world.

Festival Dances, set to the 18th century Austrian composer, Johann Hummel, too is a joyful syncopation of bare-foot virtuosity that pays more than passing respect to Morris’ own ballet roots. Using 12 couples in variations of line dancing, Morris disperses them only to coalesce them back together again in a seamless, limpid sequence of coupling and group scenarios.
Wholly celebratory – the art of pure movement in magnificently structured free expression – Jenn and Spencer, featuring the two dancers Jenn Weddel and Spencer Ramirez, is perhaps the most narrative driven of the four pieces. Brilliantly performed, it expresses tension and desire through a wonderful series of counter-point balances and extended arm movements. The long limbed Weddel, sheathed in flowing salmon, is a fine match for Ramirez and proves the evening’s high point.

Thirty three years on from its inception, the Mark Morris Group, with its exemplary live music never looked nor sounded so good.

Programme B: (perf Nov Nov 28 & 30):

Music by Samuel Barber – Excursions for the Piano (Op 20, IV, III, II, I)

Costume Design: Katherine M Patterson
Lighting Design: Nicole Pearce
Piano: Colin Fowler
Dancers: Rita Donahue, Laurel Lynch, Dallas McMurray, Billy Smith, Noah Vinson, Michelle Yard

Premiere: June 26, 2008, Tanglewood Music Center, Massachusetts

A Wooden Tree:
Music and words by Ivor Cutler:
Here’s a Health for Simon; Stick Out Your Chest; The Market Place, Rubber Toy; Trouble; Little Black Buzzer; I Got no Common Sense; Deedle, Deedle, I Pass, A Wooden Tree, Phonic Poem: I’m Going In A Field; I Love You But I Don’t Know What I Mean; Beautiful Cosmos: Cockadoodledon’t

Costume Design: Elizabeth Kurtzman
Lighting Design: Michael Chybowski
Dancers: Sam Black, Rita Donahue, Lesley Garrison, Aaron Loux, Dallas McMurray, Maile Okamura, Jenn Weddel, Michelle Yard

Premiere: Oct 4, 2012, Merrill Wright Mainstage Theater, Seattle, Washington

Jenn and Spencer:
Music by Henry Cowell – Suite for Violin and Piano

Costume Design: Stephanie Sleeper
Lighting Design: Michael Chybowski
Violin: Jesse Mills
Piano: Colin Fowler
Dancers: Spencer Ramirez, Jenn Weddel

Premiere, April 3, 2013, James and Marthy Duffy Performance Space, Mark Morris Dance Center, Brooklyn, New York

Festival Dance:
Music by Johanna Nepomuk Hummel – Piano Trio No 5 in E Major, Op 83

Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz
Lighting Design: Michael Chybowski

Allegro – Waltz
Andante – March
Rondo – Polka

Violin: Jesse Mills
Cello: Andrew Janss
Piano: Colin Fowler
Dancers: Sam Black, Rita Donahue, Lauren Grant, Aaron Loux, Laurel Lynch, Dallas McMurray, Maile Okamura, Spencer Ramirez, Billy Smith, Noah Vinson, Jenn Weddel, Michelle Yard

Premiere, March 17, 2011, Mark Morris Dance Center, Brooklyn, New York

Programme A ( perf Nov 27, 29 & Dec 1) comprised:
The Muir to Irish and Scottish songs arranged by Ludwig van Beethoven;
Crosswalk to music by Carl Maria von Weber – Grand Duo Concertant for clarinet and piano, Op 48
Socrates to music by Erik Satie – Socrate, Portrait de Socrate, Bords de L’llissus, Mort de Socrate

MMDG’s perfs at Sadlers Wells are made possible through the generous support of American Airlines.
MetLife Foundation is the Official Tour Sponsor of the Mark Morris Dance Group.

The Mark Morris Dance Group is supported in part by Friends of MMDG and public funds from New York City Dept of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.

2013-12-05 11:48:38

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