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Mark Morris, whose opera Orfeo ed Euridice opens tonight at the Metropolitan Opera House, has been awarded the prestigious 2007 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award, which honors choreographers who have made a significant lifetime contribution to the field of modern dance. It comes with $35,000. He'll pick up his prize (cash) in a ceremony on July 12 at Duke University (if you're in the neighborhood...). Here are a few names of deserving Scripps Awardees before Morris: Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Katherine Dunham and Twyla Tharp. Good, right? And then there are others, like Garth Fagan and Bill T. Jones. Before Mark Morris? What were they thinking?

By the way, President Clinton was the most exciting thing about the premiere of Peter Martins's Romeo + Juliet last night. He sat in Lincoln Kirstein's seat (first ring, first row, right side—George Balanchine sat on the left) and at intermission shook hands and posed for photos with cute children. Other than that? As Friar Lawrence, Nikolaj Hbbe, as usual, was stellar (he will be missed when he returns to Denmark to take over the Royal Danish Ballet). The moment when Lord Capulet bitch-slapped Juliet was very special too—but in a different way. Alec Baldwin wrote the program notes. Kidding.

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