Mark Morris Dance Group
For many choreographers, the work is never finished. Each time they watch a performance, another note is taken, another tweak made. Not so Mark Morris. For him, when the job’s done, it’s done. Making a welcome return to Edinburgh with works choreographed in 1992, 1993 and 2007, did Morris feel the need to re-visit his older creations?
‘I adjust things a little bit,’ he says. ‘But really, if I want to make lots of changes I just make up a new dance. It’s much easier to choreograph a new piece than fix an old one. My favourite part of the process is always making things up, so when it’s opening night that’s great – and then it’s finished.’
As always, live music will play a large part in the programme, with musicians from the Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble accompanying the dancers on their six-week UK tour. Both Italian Concerto and Three Preludes will feature live piano works by Bach and Gershwin respectively. While Morris’ popular large-scale work, Grand Duo has an uplifting score by America composer, Lou Harrison played on violin and piano.
Most exciting of all, however, is Bedtime, a powerful piece about sleep and death set to the songs of Schubert – performed live by a mezzo-soprano, two tenors and two baritones. As a largely abstract choreographer, does Morris alter his way of working when song lyrics enter the frame?
‘Of course,’ he says. ‘First of all, that’s why the music is the way it is – Schubert was working from poetry and text when he composed it, so that’s where the dance comes from. As a choreographer, you can ignore the text if you want to but I’ve always been attracted to singing. As far as I’m concerned, singing and dancing are very intimately related – it gives you more possibilities, more information, more options.’
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 6 & Sat 7 Nov