Summary from Goodreads:
From the most brilliant and audacious choreographer of our time, the exuberant tale of a young dancer’s rise to the pinnacle of the performing arts world, and the triumphs and perils of creating work on his own terms–and staying true to himself
Before Mark Morris became “the most successful and influential choreographer alive” (The New York Times), he was a six year-old in Seattle cramming his feet into Tupperware glasses so that he could practice walking on pointe. Often the only boy in the dance studio, he was called a sissy, a term he wore like a badge of honor. He was unlike anyone else, deeply gifted and spirited.
Moving to New York at nineteen, he arrived to one of the great booms of dance in America. Audiences in 1976 had the luxury of Merce Cunningham’s finest experiments with time and space, of Twyla Tharp’s virtuosity, and Lucinda Childs’s genius. Morris was flat broke but found a group of likeminded artists that danced together, travelled together, slept together. No one wanted to break the spell or miss a thing, because “if you missed anything, you missed everything.” This collective, led by Morris’s fiercely original vision, became the famed Mark Morris Dance Group.
Suddenly, Morris was making a fast ascent. Celebrated by The New Yorker’s critic as one of the great young talents, an androgynous beauty in the vein of Michelangelo’s David, he and his company had arrived. Collaborations with the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Yo-Yo Ma, Lou Harrison, and Howard Hodgkin followed. And so did controversy: from the circus of his tenure at La Monnaie in Belgium to his work on the biggest flop in Broadway history. But through the Reagan-Bush era, the worst of the AIDS epidemic, through rehearsal squabbles and backstage intrigues, Morris emerged as one of the great visionaries of modern dance, a force of nature with a dedication to beauty and a love of the body, an artist as joyful as he is provocative.
Out Loud is the bighearted and outspoken story of a man as formidable on the page as he is on the boards. With unusual candor and disarming wit, Morris’s memoir captures the life of a performer who broke the mold, a brilliant maverick who found his home in the collective and liberating world of music and dance.
Mark Morris is one of the most inventive and prolific modern dance choreographers. I don’t always like his work but it is always interesting to watch (he has incredible relationships with the music he uses). So I was quite happy to read Morris’s new memoir, Out Loud. He spares no one, including himself in his recollections. Being a kid who liked to dance, growing up in the sixties in Seattle as a gay kid, he did get bullied but he kept on dancing and learning. That’s probably my biggest takeaway from this book: that an artist should always keep learning and keep incorporating new things into their art.
I particularly enjoy Morris’s acerbic tone – he likes what he likes, he has opinions about art and the art form, and he doesn’t care if you like him or not for these opinions (he says he’s somewhat less antagonistic in these opinions these days but I would say the jury is out, haha). I also liked how honest he was in this memoir regarding the ups and downs of a career in the performing arts – read this for both the history of MMDG as a modern dance company and also for the work it takes to start and maintain a dance company.
Out Loud is out (haha) on October 22.
Dear FTC: I read a digital galley of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss.