The Weis Center for the Performing Arts hosted the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) on Oct. 24. The MMDG formed in 1980 and held its first performance that same year in New York City.
The company’s touring schedule steadily expanded to visit cities in the United States and around the world. It made its first national television program for the PBS series “Great Performances–Dance in America” in 1986. Belgium invited MMDG to become the national dance company for the country in 1988, and the group spent three years staying at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels.
In 1991, the Dance Group returned to the United States to become one of the world’s leading dance companies. MMDG holds tightly onto presenters in several cities around the world. Most notably is its West Coast home, Cal Performances in Berkeley, California and its Midwest home, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., MMDG also appears regularly in New York, Boston, Seattle, and Fairfax, Va.
The group has received two Laurence Olivier Awards and a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Foreign Dance Company. MMDG regularly collaborates with renowned musicians including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Emanuel Ax, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, and jazz trio The Bad Plus as well as leading orchestras and opera companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
This performance is part of Excursions 2014, a unique multi-continent tour that splits the Dance Group in two. This tour features “Words,” a new work by Mark Morris. The program includes Excursion for the Piano (Op. 20, IV, III, II, I), “Here’s a Health for Simon,” “Stick Out Your Chest,” “Cockadoodledon’t,” “Words,” “Polka,” and many others.
“My favorite dance was ‘Polka’ because I really liked the movement quality, and I had learned it the day before. It was really upbeat, and I thought that the dancers were very talented and had good technique and energy. They looked like they were very invested in their performance,” Ridhi Sahani ’18 said.
“I thought it was very interesting and different than from what I was expecting. It was cool to experience something new that I’m not usually used to,” Kayla Holman ’18 said.
The next upcoming Weis Center event features the Sam Bush Band on Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m.