Best Traveling Dance Production

Mark Morris Dance Group

STAFF PICK: Mark Morris may be the bad boy of dance, but his naughty hauteur translates into some very good dance indeed. His Mark Morris Dance Group breezed into Centennial Hall last fall after weathering a Florida hurricane, and their show was as explosively good as the best of storms. The works ranged from a thumping tribalesque group dance to a sophisticated solo to the strains of Gershwin by Morris himself, 40-something and fabulous. Morris, who's worked with most of the top names in contemporary dance, insists on live music. The high point of the concert was "I Don't Want to Love," an austerely beautiful dance in white performed to Baroque madrigals sung in Italian by four male singers with impossibly angelic voices.

MORE MANIA: The Parsons Dance Company, a youthful, athletic troupe in the tradition of Paul Taylor, also made a stop at Centennial Hall. (And by the way, the hall's UApresents series, run by the estimable Ken Foster, has provided Tucsonans in the last five years with a solid primer on contemporary dance, bringing in most of the greats working today.) Parsons also works to live music, in this case, the Turtle Island String Quartet, which played on stage. The most spectacular moment of the show was the solo, "Caught," a trademark David Parsons piece that uses strobe lights to catch the lighter-than-air dancer only in mid-leap. His feet seemed never to touch the ground.

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