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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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Catch the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company performing Analogy/Dora: Tramontane (2015) in St. Louis; Akron, OH; Fairfax, VA; Pittsburgh; and New York City. Newyorklivearts.org

Dance Theatre of Harlem brings mixed repertory this month to Elmira, NY; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Atlanta; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dancetheatreofharlem.org

See one of three different programs, including the high-tech ETM: Double Down (2016), when Dorrance Dance performs October 5–21 in Washington, DC; Ottawa; and Ann Arbor, MI. Dorrancedance.com

In October Jessica Lang Dance shares The Wanderer (2014) and Thousand Yard Stare (2016) with Kansas City, MO; Princeton, NJ; and Vancouver, BC. Jessicalang.dance

Jessica Lang Dance in Thousand Yard Stare

Mark Morris Dance Group premieres Morris’ Layla and Majnun in Berkeley, CA, September 30–October 2. Performances in Seattle; Ann Arbor, MI; and NYC round out the company’s tour schedule in October. Markmorrisdancegroup.org

Enjoy MOMIX’s American Southwest–inspired Opus Cactus in Fort Collins, CO; Boulder, CO; Gillette, WY; Billings, MT; Logan UT; Edmonds, WA; Leavenworth, WA; and Bellingham, WA. Momix.com

MOMIX in Opus Cactus

Photos (from top): by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy of Jessica Lang Dance; by Charles Azzopardi, courtesy of MOMIX

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Loux in Mark Morris' Pacific

Mark Morris Dance Group’s Aaron Loux didn’t take ballet until he was 17, while studying at the Cornish Preparatory Dance Program. His teacher Marie Chong helped shatter his preconceived notions about the classic dance form.

“I spent so many years resisting ballet and thinking it was stiff and boring compared to modern dance. When I finally got into her class, I suddenly felt so beautiful doing the movement. I felt I had to get my nose to the grindstone right away and improve as fast as I could. She noticed that and responded to it. She gave me confidence. Her attitude was always, ‘Yeah, you definitely can do that.’”

See Loux perform tonight with MMDG at 7:30 pm at Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Photo by Hilary Schwab, courtesy of MMDG

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Program director David Leventhal (right) dances with a Dance for PD participant.

It’s official—research confirms that dance is highly beneficial for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Twelve participants completed two 75-minute dance classes a week for eight weeks. None had tried dance before. By the study’s end, they showed improvement in overall movement, walking ability and tremor severity. Participants also expressed feeling more confident and positive about their quality of life.

Dance for PD participants enjoy a class at Mark Morris Dance Center.

Created by the Brooklyn Parkinson Group and Mark Morris Dance Group, Dance for Parkinson’s Disease is a program now available in more than a hundred communities worldwide. Participants have access to dance classes, regardless of the stage of their disease. Danceforparkinsons.org

Photos (from top): by Katsuyoshi Tanaka, by Eddie Marritz, both courtesy of Dance for Parkinson's Disease

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