Catch Mark Morris' Choreographic Masterpiece on PBS This Month

Oh, PBS. What would we do without you? Well, we certainly wouldn’t see as many iconic and exciting dance performances, that’s for sure. At the end of this month, on Friday, March 27, PBS will air Mark Morris’ most enduring work, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. This performance, aired as part of PBS' "Great Performances" series, was filmed in Madrid, Spain, in July 2014.

Originally created in 1988, when Morris was the contentious dance director at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium (both the populace and the press gave him a hard time), L’Allegro has long been hailed Morris’ masterpiece. If you’ve never seen it, it’s definitely not something you want to miss. You might be surprised by how much your younger students will like it, too: L’Allegro features colorful, flowing costumes and a healthy dose of humor. Dancers flit around like birds, hide from hunters and pop just their heads onstage, as if to look out a window. And while you probably know that Morris is famous for always providing live musical accompaniment to his dances, in L’Allegro, he employs live singers, too. It’s really a happy dance—I challenge anyone not to smile during the especially ebullient “Haste thee nymph” section.

One added bonus: The one and only Mikhail Baryshnikov introduces the piece. Like we said, it’s not something you want to miss. Check your local listings for times.

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"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

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Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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