Mark Morris (choreographer)

American ballet dancer and choreographer

Mark William Morris (August 29, 1956) is an American dancer, choreographer and director.


  • I was an "other," as people call now. But you know, everybody's other than everybody else...I used what was called the "sissy test" — you know, look at your fingernails; if you do it a certain way, you're a butch or a femme. But it turned into a little bit of a look back when I made up a dance based on the quotidian humiliations of junior high school — that age, that degree of development and that confusion and annoyance that happens.
  • I guess once I finish a dance and release it to the public and we're performing it, I'm kind of done... Well, I love watching it, and I love watching other people's work too if it's really good and interesting. But you know, the most exciting part is also very often the most frustrating part: trying to finish something or get it just right or get across something that I'm not sure what it is until it happens.”
  • The culture has changed, and times have changed, you know, the whole thing about being queer has changed entirely. So then I was the bad boy, a self-proclaimed homosexual choreographer. In the early ‘80s I said I was gay all the time because it was important politically.
  • I like working with grown-up dancers much better, because there’s somebody to talk to at the airport when you’re delayed. In the middle of class, they hate me for it, but I always say, ‘What are you reading right now?’ or ‘Did you see this movie?’ or ‘Who wrote that piece of music?’ I do little quizzes to keep people involved and not just to become robotic dancing machines, because I hate to watch that.
  • I don’t, believe it or not. I don’t miss the roar of the crowd. I still get that when I take a bow, if I milk it right. I’m not regretful, but I’m envious sometimes.
  • I believe firmly in that theory that the stuff you learn when you’re very, very young, it sort of stays. The very first dance I made up that was any good, I was about 15, and I’ve been wringing changes out of that ever since. That’s interesting to me. That’s not death. It’s style or something.
  • If that means that it's not for everybody, then yes. "Elitist" doesn't need to mean wealthy and conservative; it can also mean specialised and rarefied, and that's no bad thing.
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