“a rare company – one that eschews gimmicks and trends in favor of training and purity of style and whether the dance world approves of that style or not, the company is sticking to it” -The New York Sun
From 1995 – 1997, Edward Morgan was the director of the Joffrey Ballet’s Second Company in New York City, while the main company was based in Chicago. After a successful performance of the second company, Jack Anderson wrote for The New York Times, “There are now two Joffrey Ballet companies, each based in a different community.” It’s obvious this review was positive, but the Chicago leadership base was not happy, and they tried to take the Joffrey name away. Edward Morgan having his own mind and talents decided to start his own ballet company, with Daniel Scott.
The MorganScott Ballet premiered on August 1, 1997, at the Binghamton Summer Music Festival. Following the success of the festival, the company went on a Midwest tour to Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. The company returned home to it’s first New York City Season at the John Jay Theater. Where Jennifer Dunning wrote for The New York Times, “Pleasing crowds is no longer much in fashion. But this company made a virtue of that lost art….May it flourish and return soon.”
Mr. Morgan did not want to become a pick up company, by using principals from other companies. Therefore, on September 8, 1998, he began his own professional children’s training program at Carnegie Hall. The training program was featured in the March 2000 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine. Kate Mattingly wrote, “Students in his intermediate-level class display the work ethic and commitment of professional dancers.” (see archives page, Dance Teacher) After the training program had been in session for a year, they performed with the company as corps de ballet, for a performance that took place at St. Mark’s Church, in which The New York Times wrote, “luminous, joyous dance.”
In the summer of 2000, the company created Bryant Park’s summer dance series, “August Dance.” (Previously, Morgan brought Joffrey’s Second Company.) Morgan’s “August Dance” performance was described by Jennifer Dunning with the words “serendipitous magic,” and “unforgettably theatrical.” Eva Yaa Assantewa described the company for The Village Voice with the words, “true to their word,” and “incredible poise.” The company also returned to Bryant Park in 2001 and 2002.
In 2001, the company presented its fourth New York City season at Pace University, Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote, “If Edward Morgan is not careful, the dance police may get him. Nobody seems to have told Morgan that it is risky business to entertain one’s audience, especially with bright bouncy work performed by dancers whose delight in dancing is infectious.”
Also, in 2001 an anniversary performance was supposed to take place, “Remembering Matthew Shepard, A Vigil In Dance,” but in response to the attacks on September 11th, a different performance took place, “Remembering Matthew Shepard: A Celebration of Love.” Gay Heros and Angels were celebrated, Father Mychal Judge, Edgar Garzon, and Mark Bingham. This took place in The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in the Harvey Lerner Auditorium. Guest speakers for this performance were Ann Northrop, and Andy Humm, from the television news talk show GAY USA. Also, an important speaker was Founder Director Fasil Alam, of Al-Fatiha, a support organization devoted to LGBT Muslims. (see archives, Advocate: Gay Heroes)
The company celebrated its 5th Anniversary at Florence Gould Hall in May 2002. Pia Nordlinger wrote in The New York Sun, “They have carved a niche for their company by offering classical ballet with an emphasis on expression.” The New York Times wrote, “The company celebrated its fifth anniversary on Friday night with the eager radiance that has become a hallmark of this well-trained classical troupe.”
In May 2004, the company presented, “Take the A Train: A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn,” at the Duke Theater on 42nd Street. This was a musical theatre celebration about the gay composer, living in the shadow of Duke Ellington. This performance included singers, actors, dancers, and musicians. Fans hailed this evening length production as the company’s best to date, and Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote, “as wistfully lush as Strayhorn’s music.” (see archives, the Duke)
In 2007, Scott moved abroad and Joseph Alexander suggested to rename the company TheEdwardMorganBallet. Alexander, the first founding dancer, approached Edward Morgan and said to him, “I can pick up where Daniel left off.” Edward laughed dramatically, and said, “The company is on its way to my hometown in San Antonio, Texas for the first time to perform, I still have to remind you to paint your ballet slippers. Do you think you can handle that kind of responsibility?” The rest is history! Joseph Alexander produced the company in such theaters as: The Dany Kaye Playhouse, The Lovinger Theatre, The Carver Theater, San Antonio, Texas, Le Bataclan in Paris, France, L’Avant Seine in Colombes, France, Joy Wai Gallery, and The Church of the Holy Apostles.
Additional Company Performances: Queen’s Theater In The Park, World Financial Center, Met Life, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, Fashion Institute of Technology, Aids Walk, The Inauguration performance of The Hudson River Festival, CANDLE Conference on Bullying, The Sylvia Rivera Tribute, PBS, Metro Arts 13, Anti-Violence Project – A Vigil In Dance, The Plaza Hotel, Borough of Manhattan Community Colleges, The Museum Mile Festival, Coler – Goldwater Hospitals, Harlem Hospital, Jewish Home for the Elderly, The French House at the University of Wisconsin, Laurence University, The Mitby Theater, Culver Academies.