About the Author:
An interview with David Parsons
By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
The Parsons Dance Company
229 West 42nd Street
NY, NY 10036
David Parsons, Artistic Director
At the Joyce Theater
October 30, 2002
David Parsons, Performer, Choreographer, Teacher, Director, and Producer of Dance, was born in Illinois and raised in Kansas City Missouri. He was a leading dancer and understudy for Paul Taylor, who created many roles for him. Mr. Parsons founded the Parsons Dance Company with Lighting Designer, Howell Binkley, in 1987. Mr. Parsons' works have been featured on television, and he is highly committed to dance education. He has administered a successful Dance Festival in Ft. Meyers Florida.
Roberta Zlokower and David Parsons, in the private offices of the Joyce Theater, prior to the evening's curtain call.
REZ - Tell me about the Harrison Tribute (See American Ballet Theatre Harrison Tribute Review).
DP - It was Kevin's (McKenzie, Artistic Director, ABT) and Wally Chappell's (ABT Company Administrator) idea to approach Harrison's wife. I'm always interested to do the music of today and to work with Ann Reinking (See Rodgers Tribute). I waited a little and pulled back to see what they would use.
REZ - What was your involvement with ABT?
DP - The caliber of performers was very high. It was a wonderful experience.
REZ - How did you happen to get involved with Tango? (See Parsons Review of Tango Oficina).
DP - A Company called Close Encounters with Music asked if I'd use that score (Yo Yo Ma's interpretation of Astor Piazzolla's Le Grand Tango). I premiered this dance at Tanglewood in July. At the end of this choreography, the dancers are happy. It is about the moment when people meet, the heightened sense of awareness, when you fall in love, a place in time. They notice each other, and life goes by in seconds. She gets a ring, a baby, and then life goes by.
REZ - How did you develop Too Many Cooks? (See Parsons Review)
DP - I got the idea some time ago. (Juan Garcia) Esquivel died when we were in Venice. I thought his score would be perfect for Too Many Cooks.
REZ - You obviously have a trained eye, and your visual effects, as in Caught, (See Parsons Review) are extremely effective.
DP - I worked a lot in photography. I technically know how to do this. It's nice to fuse technology and the arts. It's kind of a coup in live theater, that you can't do on TV.
REZ - What are you working on now?
DP - I'm working on a piece with the Ahn Trio, Korean musicians, piano, cello, and violin. We'll perform this piece in Baton Rouge and tour Louisiana. In August, we'll have a two-week session at the Duke Studios and bring in semi-professionals. Next week, we'll perform in New Jersey at NJPAC. We have over 60 pieces in our Repertory and perform around the globe. In 15 years we've done 18 tours. We're basically in the United States.
REZ—What gives you pleasure as a Choreographer?
DP - Certain pieces just work. I look at it, and there's a certain material beauty that just happens. A tree or a wave is perfect in its own right. A flower becomes a big Yes.
REZ -Were you a dancer as a kid?
DP - I grew up in Kansas City and danced as a kid. I was a gymnast and started with a small school in Kansas City. I was with a Company called the Missouri Dance Theater. I danced in Leonard Bernstein's MASS and met Clive Thompson and Liz Thompson, a major dancer with Alvin Ailey. Liz Thompson now runs the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and used to head Jacob's Pillow. I was also an understudy for Paul Taylor.
DP - Next year, we'll be back at the Joyce. You can check the tour schedule for other cities.
David Parsons and the David Parsons Dance Company
Photos courtesy of Lois Greenfield