Citation for Mark Morris

Presented by Geraldine M. FitzGerald ’75, trustee, for the honorary degree Doctor of Fine Arts

President Hansen, I am honored to present Mark Morris.

Art sets us apart from other beings, drawing on the full range of our capacities for thought, creativity, emotion and action. Today we honor an artist whose work in dance is a profound expression of humanity.

Mark Morris is the complete choreographer, creating works that encompass the arts of modern dance, ballet, music and opera. For Mark, dance is intimately bound to the music, from which his choreographic ideas derive. In over 130 dances, most set on his company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, he gives visual, tactile expression to music, and probes the interconnectedness of physical movement and musical ideas. In his hands, the masterpieces of Purcell and Bach, Handel and Stravinsky become something new, something more.

An extraordinary dancer himself, Mark Morris brings a combination of athleticism, feeling and purpose to his choreography: not only do his dancers perform amazing movements, they do them for a reason. His dances are at once boldly innovative and reflective of many traditions; complex and comprehensible; narratively grounded and formally daring; intellectually rich and physically demanding. Mark’s choreography challenges dancers and audiences to confront the sweep of human emotion, from elation to despair. Without words, but with gesture and motion, he spins tales of intelligence, beauty and emotional intensity.

For his dazzling and prolific dance works, for the sheer pleasure his creations give us and for his extraordinary contributions to dance in our time, I present Mark Morris for the degree Doctor of Fine Arts.

President’s conferral:

Mark Morris, you are the leading choreographer of your generation, a brilliant creative force and a master of artistic invention.

Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which here and everywhere pertain to this degree.