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Robert Abrams
The Alex Theatre
Celebrate Dance
United States
Greater Los Angeles
Glendale, CA

An Interview with Adam Parson, Artistic Director of COMMONALITY Dance Company, about their upcoming performance in Celebrate Dance 2014

by Robert Abrams
February 18, 2014
The Alex Theatre
216 North Brand Boulevard

Glendale, CA 91203

Featured Dance Company:

Celebrate Dance
Celebrate Dance (office)

Los Angeles, CA

presented by Executive Producer Jamie Nichols
Saturday, March 8, 2014 8:00PM
Alex Theatre
216 North Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203
Tickets: $18-$38
Discounts: Students, Seniors, Children $12 seated with adult
Group rate for 15 or more
More info: www.celebratedance.org
I interviewed Adam Parson, the artistic director of COMMONALITY Dance Company, which will be performing in Celebrate Dance 2014.

Robert Abrams: Please describe the performance you will present at Celebrate Dance 2014.

Adam Parson: It is a premier work, part of our upcoming summer production.

RA: Have you collaborated with anyone to create your Celebrate Dance presentation?

AP: Yes.

RA: Who have you collaborated with to create your Celebrate Dance presentation?

AP: A Costume Designer.

RA: What has this collaboration allowed you to achieve that would not have been possible without it?

AP: Mental and breathing room, haha!

RA: What is "new" or "fresh" about the art you are presenting at Celebrate Dance?

AP: I don't tend to look at my work as new or fresh. I feel that my work is a journey of my experiences, so you could say its the newest version of me and my artistry. I mean, this is a "new" work that has not been shown anywhere.

RA: How does your art build on what came before?

AP: I just try to stay as connected to what I've done before without letting it be the guide. If a movement surfaces that I've done before, I'll look at it from and different angle, feeling, temperature. AH! Its like silly putty, the make up is pretty much the same but you can use it in so many ways. And just when you think you can't find another way to use it, your baby sister comes and puts food coloring in it. After having a sibling squabble and kicking her out of your room, of course this is just an example…of course, you notice that the silly putty has taken on a completely new perspective.

RA: How will your presentation inspire the audience?

AP: You know, I choreographed a piece for the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, run by the Artistic Director, Kate Hutter. She had the audience give feedback right after the show, and the responses were so varied, I realized that I have to do my work and let the audience decide how they are inspired!

RA: Who or what inspires you?

AP: Music is a huge primer for me, how it was constructed, what moods are speaking, I was just saying if I ever had one regret in life, it would be to not hear all the music available in the world. This is one of those times when I wish I could be like Neo from the Matrix and download every song made into my brain in 10 seconds! Oh to dream…….! The other inspirations are my dancers, they give so much of themselves to the art, and they trust me to create something worthy of them. They know I will challenge them, with counts, sounds, movements, shapes, colors, temperatures, and the outcome will be the best of me for the best of them.

RA: What makes your dance company a top-notch dance company?

AP: We are a very diverse group of dancers who show commonalities within each other. All of my dancers past and present don't move like another company members, but that's how I like it. Our intention in undeniable, the focus is clear, the mind is sharp and ready to paint the floor, the air, the ceiling and the audience with, as Jamie Nichols said, "Globally Inspired Choreography".

RA: What is special or unique about dance in the Greater Los Angeles area?

AP: We have a very diverse landscape of dance here, it's wonderful! You can find so many different flavors of movement!

RA: If audience members were seeing your Celebrate Dance performance for the second time, what should they pay special attention to in order to enhance their appreciation of your art?

AP: Hmm, pay attention to your snap judgment. Actually, just turn it off if you can, look at each piece as a separate voice. You will have your favorites, but make sure to appreciate movement that doesn't necessarily speak to you, the dancers and choreographers work hard to present this work, as much as a baker works hard to present a lemon cake when you like chocolate.

RA: What political issues concern you?

AP: The recession of physical education from our public schools. I can't even begin.

RA: Do you work with schools or children?

AP: Yes.

RA: Please describe your educational work.

AP: I am have been at the Edge Performing Arts Center for 16 years now, and I'm currently setting work at Champs charter school in Van Nuys and AMDA in Hollwood. I also teach at Liv' Art Dance in North Hollywood, which is also the residence for COMMONALITY.

RA: Here are some questions asked by dance artists in the past. In his interview, Francisco Gella of COLABO Youth Dance Collective asked his fellow Celebrate Dance 2013 artists: How have they attained long standing success as a concert dance company within a city where commercial dance seems to be the dominating industry?

AP: I have been working with my company since 1998 and put in a lot of ground work. It's important to make sure you connect with just more than the dance community. I believe your art should be accessible to those who might not know they are interested. And the most important think of all is You. Have. To. Stick. With. It! Commercial dance is the dominator, and an amazing way to make good money, but the jobs are few. You have dancers who want to DANCE. Focus on them and creating a space for the others to experience movement for art, not for commercials.

RA: In her interview, Kate Hutter of L.A. Contemporary Dance Company asked her fellow Celebrate Dance 2013 artists: How is preparing for a group presentation different from presenting only your work? Are there other factors you take into consideration? Do you feel any pressure to be the best or the crowd favorite?

AP: I don't feel that pressure. I feel like I have to do what I can for my Company. Of course I hope that people will like the work, but that is subjective to who is in the audience, so I have to create to be happy with what myself and my company want to say though our medium.

RA: What questions would you want to ask of members of the other dance companies in Celebrate Dance (other than the questions here)?

AP: My questions would be, What made you choose to work with the company you are in?
In your wildest dream where anything was possible what would do with your company?

RA: What else would you like people who are thinking about purchasing a ticket to Celebrate Dance to know about your art?

AP: COMMONALITY's goal is to "Engage society, step by step and dance by dance." We want you to come let us communicate with you in a way you hadn't thought of communicating before.
Adam Parson

Adam Parson

Photo © & courtesy of Adam Parson

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