BEST CHOREOGRAPHER - 2008
In Docudrama, Morgan Thorson cracks open the tiny stage of the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater and gives us the screwball comedy of post-modern dance. With five of the most charismatic performers now working in the Twin Cities, Thorson creates an homage to smart women who dance—their nerve and verve, their ability to illuminate our mundane world with glimpses of the marvelous. Docudrama leads off with jumpily edited video portraits of each dancer: Jessica Cressey, Judith Howard, Hannah Kramer, Eva Mohn, and Anna Shogren. These brief sketches, fidgety with non sequiturs, form a kind of template for what follows, as fragments of movement from ballet, post-modern, pedestrian, even the fashion-show runway collide. The stage space keeps changing through the manipulation of a few curtains, expanding and contracting like Alice in Wonderland, framing the action in cinematic layers. Thorson illuminates the transformation from dancers inhabiting steps, styles, and even personalities grafted onto them by choreographers, to muses animating the work with their own special grace. Through big, bold moves infiltrated by small, sly ones, Thorson gives us hints of these women's unique qualities: Howard's mysterious grandeur, Mohn's frisky elegance, Cressey's dry wit. As the piece proceeds, Thorson subtly reveals the infinite variety of performers who are simultaneously iconic and idiosyncratic—dancers for our complex and multilayered times.