So Long, Logic

The chamber concert Morris offered at the intimate New Victory (never more than eight dancers onstage) was a haven for anyone overdosed on lifts (a severe post-Stuttgart possibility). Morris doesn't like to see one person (usually male) tie another (usually female) in elaborate knots or carry someone overhead like a trophy. The two who perform Silhouettes (I saw Joe Bowie and Matthew Rose) do not touch. They literally dance circles around each other, banter in counterpoint and canon, and give an impression of affection without domination. When the three duets of The Argument merge at the end, the result is not a final ballabile, but a demonstration that all these relationships contain aspects of one another, and that these people are a community.

Mark Morris's Dancing Honeymoon: borrowing from Busby Berkeley?
photo: Marc Royce
Mark Morris's Dancing Honeymoon: borrowing from Busby Berkeley?

Details

Stuttgart Ballet
City Center
January 19 through 22

Philippe Decouflť
Abracadabra
Walter Reade Theater
January 22

Mark Morris Dance Company
New Victory Theater

There's plenty of room in Dancing Honeymoon for individual expression. Morris is especially witty as the fulcrum for a dizzy over-and-under garlanding of dancers. But he shows us unison as a cooperative task rather than a learned exercise. In a wonderful game with black folding chairs, some people sit facing in opposite directions, while others, holding hands with them, dart between the chairs and, pushed, fly up before racing back. Those seated delightedly kick their legs in the air at just the right moment. The sequence is a wonderful lighthearted joke on the machine routines of old-time popular theater—like the whole piece, a cliché burnished to uncommon fresh luster.

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