It is unusual, perhaps even unique, for a choreographer who started out as part of the downtown loft-theater experimental-dance scene to end up as head of the resident ballet company of one of the royal theaters of Europe; yet Mark Morris has gone from Dance Theater Workshop to the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in less than a decade. The move was greatly mourned, and its necessity—basically financial—decried, by Morris’s champions among the American dance community. But the residency in Brussels has also allowed Morris to work on an opera-house scale, one of the results of which, his setting of Handel’s L’Allegro, II Penseroso ed Il Moderato, was given its U.S. premiere in October as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.

Morris has by no means abandoned his downtown roots, however. Also part of the BAM season was a mixed bill which included...


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