Echoes and pre-echoes: the displacement of time in Mark Morris's "Dido and Aeneas"

Sophia Preston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Detailed choreo-musical analysis of Mark Morris’s Dido and Aeneas reveals that Morris incorporates into the dance the same foreshadowing of events and presentiments of tragedy employed by Purcell in the music. The resultant structure becomes cyclical with pre-echoes of motifs and tonalities only becoming evident in the light of their later manifestation in the dance and opera. The combination of such challenges to a linear chronology results in a moving rendition of an archetypal, because apparently inevitable, tragedy. The choreo-musical analysis also articulates the way in which Morris has drawn on external associations in his choreography. It becomes apparent that as well as utilising a `knowing’, postmodern radical juxtaposition of his eclectic range of movement sources (Preston, 1998) Morris also matches different references to the different characteristics of his own double-role. Thus, as Dido, he performs gestures taken from classical dance forms while, as the Sorceress, he employs the movements of Disney’s Cruella de Vil. The points at which Dido `slips’ into movements from popular culture are those at which she is allowing herself to be deceived. The inevitability of Dido’s fate is reinforced through the timelessness engendered both by the anachronistic use of historical references and the cyclical nature of the dance and music structures.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages344-348
    JournalDancing in the Millennium: an International Conference: Proceedings
    Volume23
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2000

    Fingerprint

    Aeneas
    Dido
    Dance
    Music
    Tragedy
    Musical Analysis
    Manifestation
    Henry Purcell
    Motifs
    Chronology
    Popular Culture
    Juxtaposition
    Fate
    Rendition
    Slip
    Choreography
    Gesture
    Opera
    Timelessness
    Tonality

    Keywords

    • Mark Morris
    • "Dido and Aeneas"
    • Dance and Music structures

    Cite this

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    title = "Echoes and pre-echoes: the displacement of time in Mark Morris's {"}Dido and Aeneas{"}",
    abstract = "Detailed choreo-musical analysis of Mark Morris’s Dido and Aeneas reveals that Morris incorporates into the dance the same foreshadowing of events and presentiments of tragedy employed by Purcell in the music. The resultant structure becomes cyclical with pre-echoes of motifs and tonalities only becoming evident in the light of their later manifestation in the dance and opera. The combination of such challenges to a linear chronology results in a moving rendition of an archetypal, because apparently inevitable, tragedy. The choreo-musical analysis also articulates the way in which Morris has drawn on external associations in his choreography. It becomes apparent that as well as utilising a `knowing’, postmodern radical juxtaposition of his eclectic range of movement sources (Preston, 1998) Morris also matches different references to the different characteristics of his own double-role. Thus, as Dido, he performs gestures taken from classical dance forms while, as the Sorceress, he employs the movements of Disney’s Cruella de Vil. The points at which Dido `slips’ into movements from popular culture are those at which she is allowing herself to be deceived. The inevitability of Dido’s fate is reinforced through the timelessness engendered both by the anachronistic use of historical references and the cyclical nature of the dance and music structures.",
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    note = "Reference text: Acocella, Joan Mark Morris New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1993 Mellers, Wilfrid `The Tragic Heroine and the Un-Hero' in Price, Curtis (ed) Purcell: Dido and Aeneas, an opera 1986 pp204 - 213 Morris, Mark Dido and Aeneas Barbara Willis Sweete (dir), Rhombus media, 1994 Preston, Sophia Iconography and intertextuality: the discreet charm of meaning Proceedings of the Society of Dance History Scholars, Oregon 1998 pp241-252 Price, Curtis (ed) ‘Dido and Aeneas in Context’ in Price, C. (ed) Purcell: Dido and Aeneas, an opera London: Norton, 1986 pp3-41 Savage, Roger ‘Producing Dido and Aeneas’ in Price, C (ed) Purcell: Dido and Aeneas an opera London: Norton, 1986 pp255-277 Westrup, Jack 1986 ‘A flawed masterpiece’ in Price, C (ed) Purcell: Dido and Aeneas an opera London:Norton, 1986 pp115-125",
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    Echoes and pre-echoes: the displacement of time in Mark Morris's "Dido and Aeneas". / Preston, Sophia.

    Vol. 23, 10.2000, p. 344-348.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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