The Performance we are giving at the Mark Morris Dance Center (MMDC) is far more than a single performance. It is a crowning achievement and the logical culmination of ten years of joyful work. It is also a symbol of what people in adversity can do, over time, helping one another, while working in their own self-interest, to achieve better health and the emotional reward of dance.
In the early years we learned the joy that dance could bring in the reduction of symptoms and return of a measure of gracefulness, albeit temporarily. However, for several years, the classes were limited, by and large, to stretching, breathing and practicing series of dance steps. At some point I viewed the Mark Morris-choreographed Mozart Dances at Lincoln Center, being danced by the MMDG, with David and John dancing in leading roles. I marveled at, and envied, how the dancers could effortlessly combine prodigious strength with grace and form, and I promised myself that I would do my best to find a way for me to dance at least part of one of those dances some day. I mentioned my dream to David, and in class one day we started practicing some steps from one of the “Dances.” The actual production was still a long time in coming, but well worth the wait.
To me the performance is a crowning achievement of many, and the culmination of work by many more.
-Carroll Neesemann, BPG Member
From the start, this project has been a grand, figure-it-out-as-we-go experiment. It began with a single, personal request that Carroll Neesemann made to me more than five years ago. It was fueled by a mutual desire for new challenges, and by a shared interest in working on a sustained community project that built on the astounding individual achievements we witness every week in our classes. Now it culminates in the impressive display of grace, perseverance, creativity, and white-knuckle courage you’re about to see. Throughout this process, I have felt as deep a sense of gratitude as I can imagine– for the dancers’ unbridled desire to learn and explore new movement; for their passionate dedication to a community that acts more like a family; and for their will to push through occasional fatigue and a serious natural disaster to bring art to life. Our sincerest thanks to the dancers for helping us understand why we do what we do, and for inspiring so many near and far.
-David Leventhal, Mark Morris Dance Group