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Research Guides

Chamber Dance Company Archive: Mark Morris

A unique collection of video documenting the UW Chamber Dance Dance Company's over 25 year history of performing modern dance classics.

Mark Morris

American dancer, choreographer, and company director

I build duets into bigger works. I like to see people working together. What we call a giant solo in my company is about four bars long while twenty other people are doing something dynamically. I like the charge that is set up by a lot of people doing something.

                              Mark Morris

Born Seattle, Washington, August 29, 1956.

Mark Morris is well known to local Seattle audiences. He studied flamenco, ballet, and European folk dance and possesses a singular musicality. As a choreographer, Morris roots his work in intuitive and analytic response to music, and addresses “great themes” such as love, grief, and violence, as well as elements of the human condition, probing the depths of spiritual anguish. Morris has called himself a traditional choreographer––his tradition embraces both modern dance, extending back to Duncan and Nijinsky, and the centuries-old inheritance of European folk dance. Morris’s lush, visceral style draws on those of other choreographers; embedded in his dances are homage to, and loving parodies of, all the modern greats. His use of simple steps in intricate contrapuntal rhythms with lavish syncopation reveals his inheritance from Balkan and Spanish dance. Known also for his wit, Morris’s Canonic 3/4 Studies characterizes the humor and craft that helped catapult him to international fame. Created in 1982 as a study for dance composition students, the work is a delightful glimpse at the youthful Morris’s innovative exploration of 3/4 time using selections from the ballet studio musical canon, originally performed by Harriet Cavalli.

Watch Mark Morris's Canonic ¾ Studies at the Media Arcade in Vol. 17 of the Chamber Dance Company Archive (DVD UWDP 001 v.17).