The Mark Morris Dance Center’s luxuriously spacious studios in Fort Greene house a world-renowned modern dance company and an equally prestigious school of music and dance. A week ago Saturday, the Mark Morris Dance Group opened its doors for its annual Open House Bazaar—an event that in three years has grown from a class registration day to a community-wide festival.
The open house's latest incarnation featured dance and music performances by company members and students, free dance classes, and a beer garden. Attendees ranged from Brooklyn moms and their kids to professional dancers.
“We want people to understand all the different things we do here,” Abby West, the dance group’s marketing assistant, said. “We’re not just a dance school, we’re not just Mark Morris Dance Group.”
Variety was a theme at the open house, with classes including Afro-Caribbean, Gaga, Salsa, and a class specifically created for people with Parkinson’s disease. Gaga is a new, trendy style quickly becoming popular in modern dance scenes worldwide.
Another class offered the chance to learn Morris repertory pieces from company members. Open to dancers of all ages and skill levels, the class was full of moms and their five-year-olds, plus the occasional pre-teen. With few professional dancers in attendance, the class at one point broke down into a room of giggling preschoolers attempting steps from a particularly complex and physically demanding Morris work, “Canonic ¾ Studies.”
“We really wanted to find a way to allow the community to come and really connect with dancers and with the repertory,” West said. “This was really our way of initially getting our school community involved in what the dance group does.”