Mark Morris Dance Group

Who: Mark Morris Dance Group

What: dance performance in Rosenberger Auditorium

When: September 18, 2015 7:30pm

Where: Halbritter Center for Preforming Arts

Why: I don’t often go to dance performances – it was something new.

On September 18th at 7:30pm in the Rosenberger Auditorium of the Halbritter Center for Preforming Arts, Juniata Presents offered a dance performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group. I, personally, am not much of a dance connoisseur, so I merely went as a new experience. The group awed the audience with three short dance sets, each with its own theme. The first, titled “Words”, splashed earthy toned colors upon the back of the stage as the players moved around in soft pastel colored clothing. Although the set included a lack of words, filled with only classical style music, the true meaning of their dance to be left up to the audience to interpret. The Mark Morris group followed up this abstract dance with a set titled “A Wooden Tree”, an overwhelming funny bit in the middle of the group’s three sets. Mixed in with a new set of dancers, this set included songs of Celtic origin, seemingly spoken instead of sung. The audience was brought to chuckles with songs such as “Stick Out Your Chest” – in which that is exactly what all of the dancers on stage do – and “Little Black Buzzer” – playing off of a World War II solider using binary code, ending with his “buzzer” running out of battery – and “A Wooden Tree” – in which a family plays whisper-down-the-lane speaking about a tree and the last to hear the message paints a terrible painting of the tree which they never saw. Though full of humor, this set was filled with various dance moves that left the audience gasping as dancers simply fell from an array of heights simply relying on fellow dancers to step in and catch them, all in beat with the music. Each piece left the audience wanting more as the dancers created towers out of their bodies, balancing and moving with one another in perfect rhythm. The third set, “Grand Duo”, had an ancient tribal dance expression – the dancers in dark, earthy toned clothing, spiraling around the stage, clapping and stomping their feet in unison. In referring to the title of the dance, the dancers cycled in an out of the group spirals in slow duo dances with variations of intensity and lighting. The evening ended with an energetic pound that brought the audience to their feet, giving the group a standing ovation. Dance was never my thing. And though I may never get the excitement a dancer does from feeling the flow of the music and moving with it, I will never again deny that dance is a beautiful work of art.  

 

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