“I want to do that,” said choreographer Mark Morris at age 9, asking for dance lessons after seeing the flamenco star José Greco perform. Enrolling at Vera Flowers Dance Arts in Seattle, he was “full-on committed,” learning both folk dances and ballet—and soon teaching other youngsters and making up dances. Joining Koleda, a Balkan dance collective, brought “many life-changing ideas and experiences: queer power, independence, dancing and singing together, rhythm, and a never ending interest in the musics, dances, and cultures of the world.” Years later, when he formed the Mark Morris Dance Group and started his Dance Center, he recreated those two formative institutions his own way. Out Loud (Penguin Press, $30)—co-written with novelist/musician Wesley Stace—is a fantastic memoir. It captures Morris’s voice: enthusiastic, honest, always curious, sweet, and funny (there are laugh-out loud asides on every page). Topics abound: from the importance of music in his dances (L’Allegro, The Hard Nut, the new Pepperland); directing opera; his collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Lou Harrison, Mikhail Barishnikov, and Howard Hodgkin; keeping a troupe together and starting a school; his travels and friendships. Mark Morris has led a wonderful and creative life: hard-working, inspired, and inspiring.
Out Loud by Mark Morris