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Mark Morris Dance Group Goes Greek

The dancers move in silence, with no sound but their feet hitting the floor. The first piece of the evening is charged and entrancing and makes it really, really obvious if you’ve forgotten to turn off your cell phone. (Turn off your cell phone.) Choreographed without music, Mark Morris’s powerful Behemoth leads off a trio of West Coast premieres at Zellerbach Hall this weekend.

 
Humorous and episodic, Looky is accompanied by a player piano (playing Kyle Gann’s Studies for Disklavier), setting the atmosphere for a series of vignettes - including the studied perusing of art gallery patrons and a saloon fight club - carved out in motion that ranges from robotic to balletic to vaudevillian.
 
The grand finale is Morris’s latest, described by the New York Times as “simply beautiful...sensuously attractive.” Socrates is set to a score by Erik Satie, with a libretto excerpted from Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus, and Phaedo. The music is lilting and honeyed, thanks in part to tenor Michael Kelly, and toga-like chiffon flows over the dancers as they portray Socrates in his last hours. Graceful and strong, Morris’s dancers continue to bring it. And valiantly - and professionally - refrain from leaping off the stage to strangle people with buzzing cell phones.

 

 
Through October 3. Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. Tickets start at $34. calperfs.berkeley.edu.