Mark Morris was born on August 29, 1956 in Seattle, Washington, where he studied as a young man with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. In the early years of his career, he performed with Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, Eliot Feld, and the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980, and has since created over 100 works for the company.
From 1988-1991, he was Director of Dance at the Th__tre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. Among the works created during his tenure were three evening-length dances: The Hard Nut; L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; and Dido and Aeneas.
In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Mr. Morris is also much in demand as a ballet choreographer. He has created four works on the San Francisco Ballet since 1994 and received commissions from such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, and the Paris Opera Ballet. His work is in the repertory of the Geneva Ballet, New Zealand Ballet, English National Ballet, and the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the New York City Opera, English National Opera, and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
Mr. Morris was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991. He has received honorary doctorates from The Boston Conservatory of Music, The Juilliard School, Long Island University, Pratt Institute, and Bowdoin College. Mr. Morris is the subject of a biography by Joan Acocella (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). In 2001, Marlowe & Company published Mark Morris' L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: A Celebration, a volume of photographs and critical essays.
In 2001, the Mark Morris Dance Center opened in Brooklyn, New York. The 30,000-square foot facility features three studios and a school for dance students of all ages.