The Bourrée Project

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“Bach opens a vista to the universe. After experiencing him, people feel there is meaning to life after all.”—Helmut Walcha


Through The Bourrée Project, Dance for Parkinson’s teachers and participants around the world will be able to access, rehearse and share movement from one of Mark Morris’ most distinctive works, a dance called Falling Down Stairs. Falling Down Stairs was created as part of the Inspired by Bach series that cellist Yo-Yo Ma made for Sony Classical. The series features Ma performing the six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach in collaboration with artists from different disciplines through a set of six films. Mark Morris chose Bach’s 3rd Suite, and created a 21-minute dance for 14 dancers. The piece, originally created for film and shot at Jacob’s Pillow, was adapted for the stage in 1997, and is in the Mark Morris Dance Group’s active repertory.

The Bourrée Project focuses on the first part of the Suite’s fifth movement, the Bourrée. As part of your virtual project package, we’ve provided background resources, a set of official audio recordings made by the award-winning young Australian cellist Richard Narroway specially for this project, and four videos, including two rehearsal videos for teachers (one that breaks down and explains the movement, and one that puts that movement to music).

We hope that you and your groups enjoy working with this material in your classes. If you would like to prepare this movement for a public showing or performance, please let us know so that we can coordinate a virtual review and coaching process with you before it is shared with an audience. As a culmination, we envision circling back with all groups participating in the project to coordinate some kind of in-network film project that showcases the collective efforts and achievements of everyone involved. Stay tuned!
Click here to ask us a question.

Participating teachers and locations

Rachel Balaban, Newport, RI
Debbie Braganza, Phoenix, AZ
Cynthia Pegado, Buffalo, NY
Torri Campbell, San Rafael, CA
Susanne Carter, Milwaukee, WI
Sharon Friedler, Bryn Mawr, PA
Damara Ganley, Sunnyvale, CA
Erica Rose Jeffrey, Brisbane, Australia
Claudine Naganuma, Oakland, CA
Misty Owens, Dallas, TX
Laura Richling, New Haven, CT
Jessica Roeder, Duluth, MN
Ruth Rosenberg, Davis, CA
Judith Sachs, Philadelphia, PA
Suzanne Salapa, Orlando, FL
Cindy Surman, Boca Raton, FL
Susan Weber, Berkeley, CA

Audio downloads

Download 1: Moderate tempo (Richard Narroway, Cello)
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Download 2: Faster tempo (Richard Narroway, Cello). This faster version contains the entire Bourrée, parts I and II. Groups using this recording will need to stop the recording after Part I. Advanced groups that wish to use the choreography to Bourree II should contact David for more information.
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Bourree II word cues and video

Click here to access word cues for the improvised movement in Bourrée II. Click here to see a tutorial video of David moving while speaking cues for improvised movement.

Rehearsal videos

Bourrée I Teaching video (with narration)

Bourrée I Rehearsal Video (no narration)


MMDG version (1999)

Mark Morris discusses the Bourrée from Falling Down Stairs

Dance for PD in Performance (May 2019)