Mark Morris Dance Group Reaches Out To C-U With Message Of Dance
When the Mark Morris Dance Group came to Champaign-Urbana for their annual residence at the University of Illinois, they performed Morris’ interpretation of Handel’s opera “Acis and Galatea” with local musicians and singers at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
But the acclaimed modern dance company was also out in the community during the week leading up to the Krannert performances, visiting local dance classes and doing outreach with other groups of all ages.
Members of the MMDG worked with young people from the Cunningham Children’s Home and Lincoln’s Challenge Academy. And they led one of the monthly classes of Dance for People With Parkinson’s at the Krannert Center.
Dance for People With Parkinson’s, or Dance For PD, is a program launched in 2001 by members of the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. It trains professional dancers to teach dance-derived movements to people with Parkinson’s and other motion disorders. Morris says the classes don’t fit the definition of physical therapy, but produce therapeutic benefits for participants.
Parkinson’s dance classes based on Dance For PD are now held in 30 states and ten countries outside the U-S, according to the program’s website, danceforparkinson.org. The instructors at the Krannert Center’s Dance For People With Parkinson’s classes were trained by the Mark Morris Dance Group --- although member of the MMDG led a class during their visit to Champaign-Urbana.
Mark Morris says the outreach work his company does stems from his belief that dance and other physical movement is a basic facet of human artistic expression, part of “everything that makes a people more civilized and empathetic”.
The Mark Morris Dance Group's production of Handel's "Acis and Galatea", directed and choreagraphed by Morris, and featuring Sinfonia Da Camera and the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana, was scheduled for two performances at the Krannert Center Tryon Festival Theatre, May 1st and 2nd at 7:30 PM.
Mark Morris talked about his outreach work with Illinois Public Media’s Jim Meadows.