Watch: Mark Morris – Lou Harrison’s Polka

Choreographed by Mark Morris with dance students from Seattle presenter STG’s program, Dance This

Lou Harrison wrote his “Grand Duo” for the 1988 Cabrillo Music Festival, which is held near Harrison’s longtime home in Aptos, near Monterey Bay. A “grand duo” was often used in early-Romantic music for large suite-like duet pieces – in this case for violin and piano.

This is highly evocative music and there’s nothing subtle about the choreography. Does the dancing change the way you hear the music? Now having seen the dance, could you hear this music without seeing the dance in your head?


  1. Being introduced to Lou Harrison’s Polka by watching and listening at the same time made it difficult to follow that up by listening to the music (with eyes closed) without thinking of the dancing. However, closing my eyes did result in a more intimate musical experience.