In Step With Baroque
enry Purcell's Dido and Ae-
neas is reaching Ann Arbor in
a full format: Not only will the
Baroque opera be sung by spe-
cialists in early music (the opera dates
from 1689), but it will be highlighted with
a contemporary dance collaboration. The
Mark Morris Dance Group will do the hon-
"(It's) a piece of music I've loved forev-
er ... A great piece of music. Precise, not a
note wasted, just short of an hour," said
Mark Morris, the choreographer and wun-
derkind of American modern dance, in a
recent phone interview from New York.
Seattle-born Morris was the director of
dance for the Theater Royal de la Mon-
naie in Belgium (1988-91) and, recently,
the co-founder with Mikhail Baryshnikov
of the White Oaks Dance Project. Tonight
through Sunday, he will perform at the
Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor.
"I dance more than I often do in my
shows," he states.
Two roles, in fact. He dances both Dido
and the Sorceress — roles usually per-
formed by females. The Morris canon has
never hewed to orthodox gender roles; in
his dance works, clothing is non-gender
specific and dancers are cast for their abil-
ity, not their secondary sexual character-
istics. Aeneas, however, is danced by a
male — former Detroiter Guillermo Resto,
a longtime Morris dancer.
The tale of the hapless Dido, wooed by
and enamored of Aeneas, then cast off to
die, is enacted by the 12 dancers — who
portray sailors, courtiers, witches, spirits
and others. Morris uses "American Sign
Language, Mudras (Eastern Indian signs)
and archaic gestures." It is, essentially, a
"We speak" in the danced elements,
with signs and gestures. "Once the dance
begins, you become accustomed to what
we are `saying,"' says Morris, an expres-
sive dancer whose choreography is known
for its musicality; in this work, he chose
The Mark Morris Dance Group will present Dido and Aeneas, with Morris dancing the two lead roles.
figurative language "so I could get as much
of the text across as possible."
The four singers, who will be in the or-
chestra pit with the musicians, but still
visible, will sing the arias and the dia-
logue. They are sopranos Christine Bran-
des and Dana Hanchard, mezzo-soprano
Jennifer Lane and baritone James Mad-
dalena. Under conductor Martin Pearl-
man, founder and music director of the
Boston Baroque Orchestra and Chorus,
the music will be the focal point — the
base line for the production. But center
stage will be the Mark Morris Dance
Group and Morris himself.
David Allen Miller entertains
young concert goers with per
formances of classical works
with the Detroit Symphony
Orchestra at Orchestra Hall.
Sat., 11'30 a.m. 8E2 p.m,
The winter film series at
the Historic Redford caps
off with Oklahoma, starring
Gordon MacRae and Shirley
Jones. 17360 Lahser, Detroit.
Fri., 8 p.m.;
Sat, 2 & 8 p.m.
The Israeli'singer, who began
her career at 13, performs
songs of modern Israel with
Ron Druyan. Shiffman Hall,
Maple-Drake JCC. (810) 661
Sun., 3:30 p.m.
—Michael H. Margolin
The University Musical, Society pre-
sents the Mark Morris Dance Group in
Henry Purcell's Dido and Aencts with the
Boston Baroque Orchestra and Chorus
conducted by Martin Pearlm_an. Perfor-
mances run 8 p.m. tonight and tomor-
row, April 19 - 20, and 4 P.m. SundaY,
1,,atthe Michigan Theater, 603
Arbor. Tickets are $12-
t ' ;'11 '(313) 764-2538 or 1-800-221
The duo will join musical forces to
present a concert featuring selec-
tions from Jacques Brel, folk, la-
bor and love songs. At the
Birmingham Temple, 28611 W.
12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills.
Sun., 7:30 p.m.
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and 00CHWiiiiRerSarY coin-
pang Xll „
atre for eightpe rfor Dances.
Sun. 7:30 pm.