An Interview with David Parsons
April 8, 2019
The Center concludes its 2018/2019 line-up of dance performances on April 20 with Parsons Dance, the internationally celebrated modern dance company presenting a rich program of pieces by contemporary dance masters, including two area premieres. We asked Artistic Director David Parsons for more insight on what the audience can expect from this performance.
How did you put together this particular program? How did you select from your own repertoire and how do you think all the pieces (those you've choreographed and the others) compliment each other?
David Parsons: We’re very excited about the George Mason program because it incorporates a lot of new work, as well as Parsons’ classics. Programming is always a joy for me because I love variety and creating an emotional roller coaster for the audience. Besides Parsons classics we have two works from other choreographers. One is my old boss Paul Taylor’s work, Runes, and the other work is by Trey McIntyre to the music of Aretha Franklin.
Can you tell us more about this area premiere, Trey McIntyre's Eight Women? Is this the first professional presentation or where else has it been staged?
D.P.: Trey McIntyre’s Eight Women will be performed as a preview performance before it premieres during our home season at The Joyce Theater this May. Trey and I have known each other for a very long time and actually performed together. His work is very similar in its physicality and in his use of concepts. This work is about the strength and vitality of women, and is choreographed to the music of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
Why did you select Paul Taylor's Runes for this program? The late choreographer created such a range of work - Why was it important to you to present this particular piece, which will be also special preview performance for our patrons here at the Center?
D.P.: I danced with the Paul Taylor Dance Company for nine years, and in fact, danced Runes many times. Yes, there are many pieces I could’ve chosen, but I thought Runes was an especially inspired work by Paul and I thought it was a very good fit with my performers.
What can new audience members expect from a Parsons Dance performance?
D.P. Parsons Dance is known for its incredible physicality and virtuosity. I enjoy taking an audience through an emotional experience and making impressions that no one ever forgets.
How is the company preparing for this presentation and performing such varied pieces?
D.P.: Our repertory is very eclectic and that is one of the unique aspects of Parsons Dance. To that end, we pick artists who are amazingly versatile.
Tell us more about the company's other initiatives, particularly your Autism-Friendly Programs Initiative - Why is this so important to you and how can patrons learn more?
D.P.: Parsons Dance has been involved with education and outreach since its founding, and has now added another dimension which involves sensory friendly performances and classes. Working with people in the autism spectrum has been a revelation for all of us. Our dancers are trained to work with these special people and their parents. It’s a revelation to see their faces shine with the joy of dance.
To learn more about Parsons Dance's process of restaging Paul Taylor's Runes, please watch the video above. You can also read more about the company, its performances and its initiatives here.