Mark Morris is a brilliant and deservedly renowned choreographer, no doubt about it. His devising of dance vocabulary for the individual and for groups sends through his programs silky kaleidoscopic jet streams endowing his kinetic architecture with an unmistakably contemporary frisson.
Unlike other great, forward-looking choreographers, for instance, Twyla Tharp and William Forsythe, who air out to the max overtures of the totally bizarre, Morris somewhat undercuts his manifestations by way of traditional, classical music and correspondingly implicated physical incident.
Being a devotee of opera and practitioner of opera stage-play, Morris taps an extraordinarily wide market for his art, and elicits a synthesis (il Moderato) of the old (Penseroso) and the new (L’Allegro).
In his masterwork, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, which we saw and very much enjoyed last week during Toronto’s Luminato Arts Festival, a Baroque score, based on poems by John Milton, pushes the kinetics toward folk ways.
Thereby the ballet gives much food for thought in its seeming religiosity which, when all is said and done, represents a holding pattern for a forward thrust into something far surpassing the Baroque, but not surpassing the essence of Baroque beauty and power.