Thursday, August 11, 2022

David Parsons at the Joyce, NYC

Ok girls, you want a job in NYC, you better get your butts to class!

07pars_600Tues night I had some cute seats at the Joyce Theatre in Chelsea to see The Parsons Dance Company.  Those dancers are no joke! They were giving me extension, fierce feet, technique, and seamless partnering skills. They go beyond the expectations of your typical modern dancer with flawless double tours and grounded ponches. Each dancer has their own unique strength and style that they bring to Mr. David Parson’s work.

The stage blasted wide open with a crazy fun piece called Swing Shift, choreographed back in 2003.  A full company piece that filled the stage with beautiful movement, colors, motion and momentum. It was a sweet way to start off the night and introduce the ferociousness of the Parson dancers.  It was a piece about form, which played around with space and formation with fun, flirty duets, excellently executed solos, and swirling group sections that swept through the stage.  It was a total joy to watch and I totally got swept away with them.

The following duet, Ebben, was a painful excerpt from Parson’s new evening length EVOC collaboration (East Village Opera Company).  It was a short little number. Kevin Ferguson simply stood on center facing upstage while his partner Abby Silva, performed her balancing act downstage of him.  Watching her go from one, one legged position to the next, made the entire audience tense hoping she wouldn’t fall until finally her partner turned around, and did a couple of steps himself before the blackout.  It was empty and the narrative was forced.  The choreography was needlessly difficult and It made me glad I was there the night I was, because I couldn’t have sat through an entire evening of that.

Unfortunately the next piece, My Sweet Lord, started off basically the same way, a man center stage, doing nothing while a duet between two females danced around him. This time it was to Indian inspired music (think Bollywood meets the Hari Krishna… on a local college music station). After several minutes, the piece was mysteriously joined with George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord (the song) by the rest of the company, wearing basically the same thing they wore in Swing Shift. I was left totally confused. The first section had noting in common with the second and if he was going for meaningful eastern inspired modern dance, he shouldn’t have.

Intermission was great I went outside for a second, checked my messages, talked to some friends and looked through the press packet they gave me.

Then Act 2 happened.  It didn’t get any better.  Fill the Woods With Light started out promising with a solo light on a solo dancer, that turned into this clever little opening with only flash lights. I was back in it, yes i love this company…. only to be disappointed when it didn’t go anywhere.  Twenty more minutes of random bits of dancing with random dancers following them around lighting them in random ways, some moments were brilliant, “like OMG throwing the flashlights only on the backdrop leaving everyone in silhouette, wow that was really cool”, but it didn’t make up for how bored I got waiting for it just to be over.

But all was not lost!  Parson’s most famous piece, and for good reason, Caught, which he choreographed back in ’82, saved my night! If you are not already familiar with it, let me set the scene for you. Picture it, a gorgeous soloist and a strobe light.  Miguel Quinones starts center stage (shirtless… and let me tell you, he wasn’t born, he was carved out of granite… i said CARVED!!!)   So where was I?  Oh yeah, Soloist center stage, then after he began dancing the strobe starts and continues to catch him mid air, in a menage, on diagonals, direct lines coming right at you…. it was so cool!!!!  and not to mention Mr. Quinones is pure magic, besides the trick of the strobe, his lines are amazing, his fire on stage is unforgettable and he was enthralling to watch!

The closing piece of the evening was Shining Star, something the piece is not. The performers are full out and what saved me from leaving.  I hate disco, and see no reason to set modern dance to it. Cheesy, corny, expected, boring and even when they have a moment of hand flipping choreo referencing Beyonce’s Single Ladies, I was still itching to shut off the music and ask the dancers to do something else.  I loved watching them, but I didn’t love anything else.

The Shining Stars of the company however are the fearless Abby Silva, the magical Miquel Quinones, the gorgeous and seamless Julie Blume, the quicksilver Patty Foster, the unforgettable Kevin Ferguson, and Billy Smith, Zac Hammer, John Corsa, Eric Bourne, Sarah Braverman, and Natalie Lomonte who are all masters of their craft, beautiful technicians, and I look forward to seeing what else they can bring to deeper, more inspiring work.

iDANZ Critix Corner
Author:  Dante Pulieo
Dance Review:  Parsons Dance, David Parsons
Venue:  Joyce Theater
Performance:  Tuesday, January 13, 2009


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