My Name is Margaret Morris Review
2010 is the centenary year of the founding of the Margaret Morris Movement, the training method of Modern Dance, which continues to be taught in a series of MMM schools across the world today. But for those outside the dance world, her name is not widely recognised.
In this enchanting show, Stuart Hopps, one of Britain’s finest choreographers for stage and screen, presents a personal homage to celebrate the life and pioneering work of Margaret Morris.
With a short blast of Abba’s “Dancing Queen” Stuart Hopps leaps on to the stage, light and lithe for a fast and furious opening number, before the music quickly fades. Wearing smart cream trousers, shirt and waistcoat, he walks over to a small table, set with a Dictionary of Dance and glass of red wine. From the back of a chair he takes a pink, silk pashmina and drapes it over his shoulder. In an instant, adopting a soft, rich voice, eloquent diction and graceful poise, he transforms into his character: “My name is Margaret Morris.”
This dance-drama is essentially a biographical talk, encapsulating Morris’s life from growing up in London, her affair with John Galsworthy, moving to Paris where she falls in love with Scottish artist John Duncan Fergusson, and her intense rivalry with Martha Graham. The multi-talented Margaret – dancer (aka the “English Isadora Duncan”), actor, choreographer, director, designer, physiotherapist and teacher – approached performance as an artist, inventing a system of dance notation and her unique dance technique and later forming the Celtic Ballet Club in Glasgow.
A blend of humorous anecdotes and sad stories is illustrated with brief musical extracts such as a snatch of Gluck’s glorious Orfeo. The audience is also invited to take part in an exercise class – we are all quickly on our feet, breathing deeply, stretching arms and legs.
The presentation concept is so simple but it works brilliantly. This is a captivating, emotional performance with sparkling wit and genuine passion.
Till 22nd August (various times).