“a rare company – one that eschews gimmicks and trends in favor of training and purity of style and whether the dance world approves of that style or not, the company is sticking to it” -The New York Sun
From 1995 – 1997, Edward Morgan was the director of the Joffrey Ballet’s Second Company in New York City, while the main company was based in Chicago. After a successful performance of the second company, Jack Anderson wrote for The New York Times, “There are now two Joffrey Ballet companies, each based in a different community.” It’s obvious this review was positive, but the Chicago leadership base was not happy, and they tried to take the Joffrey name away. Edward Morgan having his own mind and talents, decided to start his own ballet company, with Daniel Scott.
The MorganScott Ballet premiered on August 1, 1997, at the Binghamton Summer Music Festival. Following the success of the festival, the company went on a Midwest tour to Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. The company returned home to its first New York City Season at the John Jay Theater. Where Jennifer Dunning wrote for The New York Times, “Pleasing crowds is no longer much in fashion. But this company made a virtue of that lost art….May it flourish and return soon.”
Mr. Morgan did not want to become a pick-up company, by using principals from other companies. Therefore, on September 8, 1998, he began his own professional children’s training program at Carnegie Hall. The training program was featured in the March 2000 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine. Kate Mattingly wrote, “Students in his intermediate-level class display the work ethic and commitment of professional dancers.” (see archives page, Dance Teacher Magazine) After the training program had been in session for a year, they performed with the company as corps de ballet, for a performance that took place at St. Mark’s Church, in which The New York Times wrote, “luminous, joyous dance.”
In 2001, the company presented its fourth New York City season at Pace University, Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote, “If Edward Morgan is not careful, the dance police may get him. Nobody seems to have told Morgan that it is risky business to entertain one’s audience, especially with bright bouncy work performed by dancers whose delight in dancing is infectious.”
Then in 2001 an anniversary performance was supposed to take place, Remembering Matthew Shepard: A Vigil In Dance, but in response to the attacks on September 11th, a different performance took place, Remembering Matthew Shepard: A Celebration of Love. Gay Heroes and Angels were celebrated, Father Mychal Judge, Edgar Garzon, and Mark Bingham. This took place in The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in the Harvey Lerner Auditorium. Guest speakers for this performance were Ann Northrop and Andy Humm, from the television news talk show GAY USA. Also, an important speaker was Founder, Director Faisal Alam, of Al-Fatiha, a support organization devoted to LGBT Muslims. (see archives, Advocate: Gay Heroes)
The company celebrated its 5th Anniversary at Florence Gould Hall in May 2002. Pia Nordlinger wrote in The New York Sun, “They have carved a niche for their company by offering classical ballet with an emphasis on expression.” The New York Times wrote, “The company celebrated its fifth anniversary on Friday night with the eager radiance that has become a hallmark of this well-trained classical troupe.”
In May 2004, the company presented, Take the A Train: A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn, at the Duke Theatre on 42nd Street. This was a musical theatre celebration about the gay composer, living in the shadow of Duke Ellington. This performance included singers, actors, dancers, and musicians. Fans hailed this evening length production as the company’s best to date, and Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote, “as wistfully lush as Strayhorn’s music.” (see archives, the Duke)
In 2007, Scott moved abroad and Joseph Alexander suggested to rename the company TheEdwardMorganBallet. Alexander, the first founding dancer, approached Edward Morgan and said to him, “I can pick up where Daniel left off.” Edward laughed dramatically, and said, “The company is on its way to my hometown in San Antonio, Texas for the first time to perform, I still have to remind you to paint your ballet slippers. Do you think you can handle that kind of responsibility?” The rest is history! Joseph Alexander produced the company in such theatres as: The Danny Kaye Playhouse, The Lovinger Theatre, The Carver Theatre, San Antonio, Texas, Le Bataclan in Paris, France, L’Avant Seine in Colombes, France, Joy Wai Gallery, and The Church of the Holy Apostles.
Inspired by one of the students in the Outreach Program Alexander created, he brought the company to The Church of the Holy Apostles for an original performance entitled Ballet For The Homeless. It debuted in 2014 with actors, singers, and dancers from all generations and walks of life coming together to feed the homeless. “We sing, we dance, we feed!” (see archives, Ballet For The Homeless)
With hundreds of people in attendance at each performance, thousands of dollars were raised for local soup kitchens in Manhattan. Executive Director of the Good Shepherd Services Program for underserved youth, Paulette LoMonaco wrote Alexander a letter of gratitude from the teenage girls who were given the opportunity to attend the performance.
The Goddard Riverside Youth Theatre, another program of Alexander’s creation, performed Ballet For The Homeless partnering the company with one of New York City’s largest organizations for homeless youth and adults.
After its numerous successful productions, Ballet For The Homeless was performed again in 2017 and in 2018 on Earth Day Weekend at The Church of the Holy Apostles. Morgan and Alexander used their ever-evolving knowledge of the homeless epidemic to create a new, original ballet each year. Ballet For The Homeless educated performers and audience members alike as they received its message of hope and life – planting seeds of change as Alexander’s concept heals the world.
A theatrical troupe formed as Mr. Morgan directed actors and singers in addition to the dancers. They were invited to perform at the Homeless Writers’ Workshop, 35th Anniversary Soup and Soul Celebration, Fresh Fridays at the Up&Down Club, a Vegan Rock Opera Ballet at the NYC Veg Fest, and in an outdoor performance for the Bushwick Art Crawl. Currently Morgan and Alexander are devising theatre, dance, and film to be seen by audiences all over the country.
Additional Company Performances: Queens Theatre In The Park, World Financial Center, MetLife, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, Fashion Institute of Technology, Aids Walk, The Inauguration performance of The Hudson River Festival, CANDLE Conference on Bullying, The Sylvia Rivera Tribute, PBS, Metro Arts 13, Anti-Violence Project – A Vigil In Dance, The Plaza Hotel, Borough of Manhattan Community Colleges, The Museum Mile Festival, Coler – Goldwater Hospitals, Harlem Hospital, Jewish Home for the Elderly, The French House at the University of Wisconsin, Lawrence University, The Mitby Theatre, Culver Academies.