New York Times Bryant Park

DANCE REVIEW; Stormy Clouds Chase Everyone From the Place
Published: August 15, 2000

Connoisseurs of outdoor dance performances don’t mind rain. Some of the most memorable shows at the late and much lamented Delacorte Dance Festival in Central Park resulted when dancers were forced to compensate for showers and slippery stages.

A great deal too much rain poured down on the MorganScott Ballet on Friday night at Bryant Park. But the dancers drew cheers from a surprisingly large audience. And an impromptu solo by Edward Morgan, the former Joffrey Ballet dancer who directs the troupe with Daniel Scott, made for serendipitous magic.

MorganScott opened with Mr. Morgan’s ”Stockhausen 2000: Dreams,” a group work set to a score by Stockhausen that sounded, in its first moments, like thunder echoing through the gathering storm.

Emily Burch and Joseph Alexander, the lead dancers in this parable about children and balloons, maintained a nice balance between the piece’s air of a stylish romp and the kind of spirited classical ballet purity for which the company is known. Eventually, however, Mr. Alexander began to grin charmingly at the incongruity of the sheets of water splashing up around the dancers as they moved through the work, the women managing somehow to remain up on point through it all. Then, suddenly, the sound went out, and Mr. Scott was forced to call a halt.

Krysthel Pena released the big red balloon she carried through the work. Slowly, ponderously, it rose through the gray air as the dancers took their bows to cheers from their steadfast, umbrella-hoisting audience.

Then came the magic as Mr. Morgan jumped onto the stage in a solo that looked like an improvised prayer. His long lean body, arms reaching up and, pressing into the pelting rain, echoed the long lines of the skyscrapers behind him. The image was unforgettably theatrical yet also poignant.

The heroic cast of the Stockhausen piece was completed by Marissa Dompe, Dara Di Gerolamo and Michael Blake. The program opened with an abbreviated set by the music group Amelia’s Dream.

No rain date for MorganScott has been announced. The program was part of Bryant Park Presents: August Dance, a series that continues with performances by Nicholas Leichter Dance on Friday and Cortez & Company Ballet/Contemporary on Aug. 25.

Photo: Members of MorganScott Ballet performing on Friday night in soggy Bryant Park. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

Friday, August 4, 2000 Weekend New York Times

The New York Times

Featured in The Arts Section 

August 4, 2000

By Jennifer Dunning  

Edward Morgan, a charismatic performer whose love for ballet finds expression in his small company’s joyous classicism, once performed in the ultimate outdoor theater space, the amphitheater in Athens while on tour with the Joffrey Ballet. And the Mor- ganScott Ballet, founded in 1997 with Daniel Scott, has had its share of competing with urban distractions in outdoor performances in New York City. For their performance next Friday at “Bryant Park Presents August Dance,” Mr. Morgan and Mr. Scott have taken into account not only the expressiveness of their performers and the need to slightly re-choreograph for a stage without wing space but also the angle of the audience from the stage. They pick dancers with the extra personality or natural projection for outdoor performances and tailor the program for the casual observer. “We normally start with classical work and then go into something more contemporary,” Mr. Morgan said. “But outdoors, if you start with something a little more contemporary, you may be able to draw the audience into the classical piece that comes next.” The same philosophy appears to govern the dizzyingly wide-ranging free new Bryant Park series, developed by Ethan Lercher of the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, who operates on the principle that the more dance the better for New York City.