The Mark Morris Dance Group was formed in 1980 and gave its first concert that year in New York City. The company’s touring schedule steadily expanded to include cities both in the U.S. and in Europe, and in 1986 it made its first national television program for the PBS series Dance in America. In 1988, MMDG was invited to become the national dance company of Belgium, and spent three years in residence at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. The company returned to the United States in 1991 as one of the world’s leading dance companies, performing across the U.S. and at major international festivals.
It has maintained and strengthened its ties to several cities around the world, most notably its west coast home, Cal Performances in Berkeley, CA. It appears regularly in Boston, MA; Urbana, IL; Fairfax, VA; Seattle, WA; and at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, MA. MMDG made its debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival in 2002 and at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 2003 and has since been invited to both festivals annually. The company’s London seasons have garnered two Laurence Olivier Awards.
MMDG is noted for its commitment to live music, a feature of every performance on its full international touring schedule since 1996. MMDG collaborates with leading orchestras, opera companies, and musicians including cellist Yo-Yo Ma in the Emmy Award-winning film Falling Down Stairs (1997); Indian composer Zakir Hussain, Mr. Ma and jazz pianist Ethan Iverson in Kolam (2002); The Bad Plus in Violet Cavern (2004); pianists Emanuel Ax and Yoko Nozaki for Mozart Dances (2006); and with the English National Opera in Four Saints in Three Acts (2000) and King Arthur (2006), among others. MMDG’s film and television projects also include Dido and Aeneas, The Hard Nut, and two documentaries for the U.K.’s South Bank Show.
In fall 2001, MMDG opened the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY, the company's first permanent headquarters in the U.S., housing rehearsal space for the dance community, outreach programs for local children, as well as a school offering dance classes to students of all ages. The company’s 25th Anniversary celebration included over 100 performances through 26 U.S. cities and ten U.K. cities; five world premieres; and Morris’s conducting debut in a performance of Gloria at BAM.