CONVERSATIONS WITH VETERAN modern dance choreographer Mark Morris require a thick skin. Take ours, for example. I foolishly started with a statement—“Please tell me a bit about your show”—to which he replied, “I only answer questions.” Take two: “ Sir, what is the show about?” Pause. “Well, it’s not about anything.”
Sure, the 53-year-old Seattle native dishes sass, but deservedly so: He’s been at the top of his field for 30 years, cofounded a dance company with Mikhail Baryshnikov, and has an ear for music that rivals a classical composer’s. His troupe’s performance at the Paramount revives three pieces from the ’80s and ’90s set to Haydn, Bach, and Vivaldi’s Gloria in D, with accompaniment by the Tudor Choir and Seattle Symphony.
“ Gloria is one of my oldest pieces that people like a lot,” Morris said. “I was kind of sick of it, because it’s a signature and I’m not interested in having a signature. For me, to keep vitally interested…it was suggested I consider conducting it.”
And he does. Barefoot. “Only because it’s very, very hot. I’m in a suit.”