Wednesday, March 28, 2007
By Joan Acocella, 1993
You should know
This is another one I had to read for class. I stopped taking dance class when I was 9, and that’s about the extent of my knowledge of the dance world.
This is the biography of Mark Morris, a prominent modern dance performer/choreographer. I was not expecting to enjoy it. In fact, I wasn’t really expecting to understand it.
I was pleasantly surprised. The reader learns about Morris's childhood, his literally lifelong association with dance, and how the two have shaped his work. We learn about his family, his first teachers, and his early relationships. We also learn about the dances he was choreographing in his young teens. While dance fans will definitely enjoy this, the book is more for biography readers than dancers. Important terms, people, and trends are explained, which is a huge help, and keeps the technical stuff from getting in the way of the narrative.
In the end, I don’t know if Morris is someone I’d much like to go drinking with, but I find him a sympathetic character, and I’m actually interested in seeing some of his work, even though the basic descriptions don’t really sound like my kind of thing.
Read it if…
…You like biographies or the arts. Otherwise, you probably just won’t care.
The rest of the Internet
The Mark Morris Dance Group.
Morris's Wikipedia page.
A Salon article on Morris.
Morris is featured in a podcast.
Wendy Lesser at The Threepenny Review considers Morris, Sontag, and camp.
A review from Dance Magazine.