Lifelong Learning Institute, Manassas

LLI: Mark Morris Dance Group

Hylton Performing Arts Center, Jacquemin Family Foundation Rehearsal Hall


Registration for this event is closed.

Speaker/Host: Brandon Cournay and Billy Smith, Mark Morris Dance Group Company Members

Founded in New York City in 1980 by artistic director and choreographer Mark Morris, the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) has been called “the preeminent modern dance organization of our time” (Yo-Yo Ma), its members receiving “highest praise for their technical aplomb, their musicality, and their sheer human authenticity.” (Bloomberg News). Join members of the company for a class about the Mark Morris Dance Group and their critically-acclaimed production Pepperland, which will be performed as part of the Hylton Presents series on Saturday, February 11. This class will include some movement for those who wish to participate as well, so comfortable clothing is recommended.  Interested in a deeper dive into Mark Morris and the Company?

Brandon Cournay (he/him/his) is originally from Walled Lake, Michigan, and received his B.F.A. from The Juilliard School. As a freelance artist, he has performed with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Morphoses, The Metropolitan Opera, New York Theatre Ballet, The Chase Brock Experience, Schoen Movement Company, Dance Heginbotham, and KEIGWIN + COMPANY. TV/film/industrial credits include PBS’ Great PerformancesMusical Chairs (HBO), Puma, Sesame Street, and Target. As an educator and répétiteur, he has worked with The Pennsylvania Ballet, Whim W’Him, The Juilliard School/Nord Anglia Education, and universities nationwide. Offstage, he has worked with companies in multiple capacities from artistic direction to administrative management. For many years, he was the Rehearsal Director and Associate Artistic Director of KEIGWIN + COMPANY. In addition, he has assisted numerous choreographers on creative projects in theatre, film, and dance. He joined MMDG as a company member in 2018.

Billy Smith grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and attended George Mason University under a full academic and dance talent scholarship.  He graduated magna cum laude in 2007 and received achievement awards in performance, choreography, and academic endeavors.  While at George Mason he performed the works of Mark Morris, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, Doug Varone, Daniel Ezralow, Larry Keigwin, Susan Marshall, and Susan Shields.  Smith’s own piece, 3-Way Stop, was selected to open the 2006 American College Dance Festival Gala at Ohio State University and his original choreography for a production of Bye Bye Birdie garnered much critical praise.  An actor as well, Smith’s regional theater credits include Tulsa in Gypsy, Mistoffelees in CATS, and Dream Curly in Oklahoma!.  Smith danced with Parsons Dance from 2007-2010.  He joined MMDG as a company member in 2010.