Amber Star Merkens, Courtesy Mark Morris Dance Group

Mark Morris Is About to Become His Own Landmark

There's always been something larger than life about choreographer Mark Morris. Of course, there are the more than 150 works he's made and that incisive musicality that makes dance critics drool. But there's also his idiosyncratic, no-apologies-offered personality, and his biting, no-holds-barred wit. And, well, his plan to keep debuting new dances even after he's dead.

So it should come as little surprise that his latest distinction is also a bit larger than life: The New York Landmarks Conservancy is adding Morris to its list of "Living Landmarks."


The recognition honors New Yorkers who've made outstanding contributions to the Big Apple. Previous honorees include icons like Lauren Bacall, Walter Cronkite and Whoopi Goldberg. Only a couple of other dance people have made the list in the past—Liza Minnelli and Tommy Tune.

"Mark Morris has delighted and inspired countless New Yorkers and helped create Brooklyn's cultural renaissance," said Peg Breen, president of the conservancy, in a press release.

In addition to Morris, this year's honorees include Carole Bailey French, president of St. Bartholomew's Conservancy; Ted Mathas, chair and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company; former state senator H. Carl McCall; The Metropolitan Museum of Art president emerita Emily K. Rafferty; and Barbara and Donald Tober, chair emerita of the Museum of Arts and Design and chair of Sugar Foods Corporation, respectively.

The news was announced, fittingly, just as Morris' highly entertaining new memoir came out. A gala to celebrate all of the new Living Landmarks will be held November 6 at The Plaza hotel.

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Kaja Irwin, Sabrina Comanescu, Natasha Korney of Decidely Jazz Danceworks in Calgary. Vibecke Dahle, courtesy Dance on Camera Festival

This Documentary Will Make You Fall in Love With Jazz Dance All Over Again

Even dancers who love their isolations and hip rolls might be totally unaware of where jazz dance comes from.

Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance, which premieres at the Dance on Camera Festival on Sunday, July 19, aims to change that. Directed by Khadifa Wong and produced by Lisa Donmall-Reeve, the feature-length documentary is a fascinating deep dive into the complex history and evolution of jazz dance. It features mesmerizing footage and boasts interviews from renowned experts like Chita Rivera, Debbie Allen and Andy Blankenbuehler.

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