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Morris in 1984. Photo by Peggy Jarrell Kaplan, courtesy of MMDG

For the past four decades, few names in dance have stirred up as much reaction as American choreographer Mark Morris. Unique for his outsize persona, superb musicality and taking on themes related to gender and sexuality, Morris is one of the most prolific and lauded choreographers of his generation. At his Brooklyn-based dance center, the former enfant terrible continues to create for his company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and set work on ballet and modern companies worldwide.

Morris has choreographed close to 150 works for his company. In addition to being inspired by music, many have narrative roots in mythology and literature, including the following.

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Three New York City–based dance companies will embark on international residencies in 2017: Keigwin + Company will travel to Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Tunisia; Stephen Petronio Company will travel to Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; and Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group will go to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Panama. As part of DanceMotion USA (sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and Brooklyn Academy of Music), the troupes will conduct workshops, master classes, media interviews, discussions and performances.

Keigwin + Company

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Academy of Music

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On Memorial Day weekend, one of the country’s largest African dance festivals wrapped up its 36th annual performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Founded by Chuck Davis in 1977, DanceAfrica spreads the love of African dance with performances and master classes by traditional and contemporary companies from around the world. Here are a few of the most colorful moments from the event:

The BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble performed in the festival’s finale and opening celebration. The youth company is the result of a partnership between BAM and the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, dedicated to improving the lives of residents of Central Brooklyn.

 

A cappella troupe Sweet Honey in the Rock performed at DanceAfrica’s opening ceremony.

 

Umkhathi Theatre Works from Zimbabwe performed at DanceAfrica 2013 in Brooklyn, New York.

 

Zimbabwe's Umkhathi Theatre Works

 

Atlanta's all-female African dance, percussion, and vocal company Giwayen Mata

 

Chuck Davis and DanceAfrica were recently named one of “America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100” by the Dance Heritage Coalition.

 

Sweet Honey photo and top Umkhathi photo by Dino Perrucci, others by Jack Vartoogian; all photos courtesy of BAM

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