Mark Morris Dance Group has long been a regular feature of London dance seasons. Still, the power to surprise in Morris’s choreography has not waned. Take, for instance, the first of the two programmes presented last week at Sadler’s Wells, as part of the company’s 25th anniversary tour. Although signature traits informed each work’s choreography, their thematic construction, as well as their content, stood out for being anything but repetitive or monotonous. Morris has a unique way of working with music — any kind of music. His refreshing inventiveness seems to pour straight out of any score, be it a much-revered Baroque creation or the cheesiest pop tune in the world. In each instance, the action develops through a now subtle, now flashy, now even irresistibly camp, but always captivatingly unpredictable theatrical game of parallels, transliterations and contrasts between movement and its musical accompaniment.
In Somebody’s Coming to See Me Tonight, set to songs composed by Stephen Foster during the American Civil War, the cosy and somewhat sugary atmosphere evoked by the lyrics and tunes provides the background to a series of dance numbers that move rapidly and in crescendo from tamed, naively poised choreography to a more thematically varied, technically challenging and somewhat satirical explosion of pure choreographic genius. Unpredictable yet mesmerising movements also characterise the more sombre All Fours, in which the superb use of strident choreographic unisons and contrasts echoes and matches the dissonant notes of Bart