Mark Morris Dance Group to Perform L’Allegro

Mark Morris strives to balance the old and new, collecting all the old formulas and mixing them up. As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, his modern dance group returns to Boston in January 2006 to perform L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, featuring the musicians and chorus of Emmanuel Music, with Craig Smith as music director. Smith attended Washington State University and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Since 1970, he has been artistic director of Emmanuel Music in Boston.

Set to the music of Handel and the words of John Milton and Charles Jennens, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and has been described as a work of “utopian grandeur” and “a masterpiece of craft, invention and feeling.” The three Boston performances will be held at the Wang Center for the Performing Arts—Friday, January 20th at 7:30 pm; Saturday, January 21st at 8 pm; and Sunday, January 22nd at 3 pm.

Since founding the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in 1980, the Seattle-born choreographer has created more than 110 dances, containing all the intervals between somberness and humor, often within a single piece. He draws on an eclectic background of dances, including Balkan folk, Flamenco, ballet, and American modern dance.

MMDG has been commemorating its 25th anniversary with a year-long celebration, beginning with the world premiere of Cargo, the first-ever Boston Symphony Orchestra dance commission. The celebration includes more than 100 performances, five world premieres in opera and dance, a six-week tour of the United Kingdom, and a series of engagements and events held coast to coast.

Earlier this year, the MMDG inaugurated The James & Martha Duffy Performance Space, a 140-seat black-box theater at the Mark Morris Dance Center in New York. George Mason University honored Morris with an honorary doctorate, the sixth he’s received to date.