Pillow talking

By JANINE PARKER  |  August 15, 2007

Love Song Waltzes, on the other hand, gets richer with every viewing. And, yes, it’s intensely musical: Morris responds lovingly to the Brahms songs without becoming sappy or sentimental. There are intimations of longing, and reaching arms, and unabashed, rhapsodic phrases of waltzing, but no one sheds a tear. The emotions are there, just below the surface, and with the low piqué arabesques and pulsing, skimming triplets, the dance suggests a simmering Victorian drama that never quite spills over. The women step in front of the men, circle one leg around, then fall into their arms and are swept into a gorgeous turn, the arcing shape of their legs doubled into this circle in the air. Men and women alike execute a small tour jeté into their partners’ arms and are lulled into a swoon low to the ground.

As many trios as duets form, perhaps a Morris nod to the time signature, and these groupings too produce memorable images. A dancer runs in from the wings, stands in a downstage corner, tilts into a circling run as a second dancer joins in, then a third, creating a diagonal line that forms and re-forms; this is mirrored in the other downstage corner by another trio, and the motif continues to repeat, and to overlap. For the next-to-last song (“Do not stray, dear love”), a large circle forms around one member of the group — visibly wounded, or perhaps ignored, by love’s slings and arrows — who keeps seeking to escape. One by one the group members gently capture and cradle him, and eventually he’s calmed. Nonetheless, Love Song Waltzes ends with the man walking off a darkening stage, alone. I love Morris for avoiding the Hollywood ending.

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