Mark Morris Dance Group: Opening night

News & Features

Adrienne Bryant, Company Manager

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I’m writing from backstage in the Alhambra Theatre, located in Bradford. We made it here safe and sound, and without major delays or difficulties. We opened last night, and it went incredibly well…even with lots of understudies going in and general first night jitters. The audience was very enthusiastic – lots of young people which always adds a nice vibe. However, the younger the audience the more giggles we get when the lights go up on the final piece – Grand Duo – and our ‘scantily clad’ dancers (as one journalist described) are revealed.

Yesterday was quite a long day. I took a taxi to the theater at 8:45am with our Touring Wardrobe Supervisor – Jennifer Perry. We had 12 wardrobe duffel bags to bring over, and I can’t say that the taxi driver was all that pleased as I was shoving bags in every nook and cranny of his car. We had sound check for 1.5 hours, followed by class taught by Mark (he loved the local pianist – whew!), and 2.5 hours of rehearsal. A string broke on the piano in the middle of rehearsal so we had to get the piano tuner to make an emergency stop by the theater to replace it and re-tune the piano. Exciting times, I know. But when you work for a company that values live music as much as MMDG, you get used to going to great lengths to have the highest quality music possible. Let’s just say that our Sound Supervisor – Jim Abdou – has a hard job and a good ear!

The performance came down around 9:15pm and then Mark had a very well-attended Q & A on stage. Audiences always love his quick-witted personality and last night was no different. He had them laughing constantly, and I enjoyed watching from the wings myself! Finally, the company gathered in the theater bar for Opening Night Drinks – a wonderful tradition here in the UK. I somehow mustered up the energy to grab dinner with some dancers at a Thai restaurant on the way home (pretty much the only non-Indian restaurant in Bradford! I’ve had some great curry while I’ve been here…), and then stumbled into bed around 1am…

Here we are again – one hour to curtain! Day two, almost over.