Parsons Dance Company returns to Dallas with a program that proves why it’s one of the longest-running and most stable in the dance world. On the heels of the announcement that the popular Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is closing its doors, it’s uplifting to see this company celebrate 30 years of work — and look forward to the future.
On Saturday evening, the company will present a varied program, and it’s one reason the organization has flourished: Artistic director David Parsons likes to take his audience on an emotional roller coaster, with twists and turns at every corner, keeping you on the edge of your seat.
Bachiana is a look at Baroque traditions with a contemporary twist set to music by Bach. Hymn, choreographed by Trey McIntyre, is a lyrical duet set to music by the “sister group,” CocoRosie, known for their “freak folk” music, combining elements of pop, electronica and cabaret. It can be danced either by a female or male couple — in Dallas, Sarah Braverman and Elena D’Amario will dance it. The piece was commissioned by the DRA for the 2007 Fire Island Gala and has been re-staged on Parsons Dance for the 2014-2015 season. Train is a ritualistic, percussive piece choreographed by former Parsons dancer and current Alvin Ailey artistic director Robert Battle that illustrates the power and athleticism of the dancers.
But the night will begin with Within, created by Texas native and former Parsons dancer Natalie Lomonte. It’s the first product of Parsons’ new GenerationNOW Choreography Fellowship project. The project aims to give one emerging American choreographer the opportunity to create a new work for the company that will be performed throughout its season. Whirlway is a collaboration with celebrated musician-producer-composer Allen Toussaint and is Parsons’ most recent work. And of course, Caught will be staged. One of Parsons very first works and a crowd favorite, the dance give us wings and take us on a flight. (Note that a strobe light will be used during this piece, in case you have a light sensitivity.)
Just a few days before his company comes to the Winspear Opera House, I caught up with founder David Parsons to learn a bit more about the troupe, Parsons’ creative journey — and about their Texas connection.
How did you first find your way into dance?
When did the transition from dancer to choreographer begin for you?
DP: My first pieces were done on a trampoline at a summer arts camp, and that’s where I caught the bug to choreograph. After two years in the Taylor Company, I started producing work with a small group of dancers, and did so for the next six years in the summers at the Dance Theater Workshop. Some of those works are still in the repertory today, like Brothers, Caught, Scrutiny, and Envelope.[/interview_answer]
What was your motivation to start your own dance company?
Parsons Dance is one of the longest-operating dance companies in the U.S. How do you keep interest in the company alive, and how do you maintain a stable environment for your organization?
How has the mission for Parsons evolved over the years, and where do you see the group going in the future?
What makes a Parsons dancer?
Your company often comes to Dallas to perform. Are you excited to come back? And how do you find Dallas and its audience?