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.