Big Dance Theater
Big Dance Theater
Incubator Premiere
November 2015
-The New York Times

    BIG DANCE: SHORT FORM is Big Dance Theater, distilled. For its 25th anniversary, BDT returns to its dance roots in an evening of short-form works, theatrically re-imagining the conventions of a “rep show”, presenting the company’s unique blend of dance-theater on an intimate scale.

    Inspired by disciplines of the concise–novellas, folk tales, diary entries, pencil drawings, thumbnail sketches and the single page of a notebook–Big Dance will create performance events that embrace the brief, granular, close range, anecdotal and microscopic. Downsizing is prized.

    Solos, duets and group work feature the beloved, veteran Big Dance performers who, under the artistic leadership of Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, have honed a distinctive performance style that has influenced the downtown scene in NYC for the last 25 years.

    Co-directed and conceived by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar
    Choreographed by Annie-B Parson
    Lighting by Joe Levasseur
    Costumes by Oana Botez and Suzanne Bocanegra
    Sound by Tei Blow
    Visual Design by Joanne Howard
    Video by Jeff Larson

    Performed by Tymberly Canale, Elizabeth DeMent, Paul Lazar, Jennie Lui, Aaron Mattocks, and Enrico D. Wey.

    Annie-B Parson founded Big Dance Theater in 1991 with Molly Hickok and Paul Lazar. She has choreographed and co-created over 20 works for the company, ranging from pure dance pieces, to adaptations of plays and literature, to original works combining wildly disparate materials. Her work with Big Dance has been commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The National Theater of Paris/ Chaillot, The Japan Society, The Walker Art Center, and has performed in scores of other venues. Her awards include a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2014), Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2014), USA Artists Grant in theater (2012), Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography (2007), two BESSIE awards (2010, 2002), and three NYFA Choreography Fellowships (2013, 2006 and 2000). BDT received an OBIE (2000) and the first Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award (2007). Parson has been nominated for the CalArts/Alpert Award seven times and has received three Lucille Lortel nominations (2014, 2012, 2011). She was a YCC choreographer at The American Dance Festival where she worked with composer Richard Einhorn to create City of Brides, later seen in the Fall For Dance premiere season. Outside of Big Dance, Ms. Parson has created choreography for David Byrne’s HERE LIES LOVE at the Public Theater; his 2012 world tour with St. Vincent, and for his 2008/09 Brian Eno world tour. She also created dance for St. Vincent’s 2014 world tour. She directed and choreographed for the string quartet ETHEL at the Winter Garden. She created two works for The Othershore Dance Company that were seen at Ringling Festival and BAC. Her dances are featured in the film Ride, Roar, Rise about David Byrne. She choreographed for Nico Muhly’s opera Dark Sisters, Lucas Hnath’s …Walt Disney at Soho Rep, Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, Futurity at ART, and The Broken Heart at TFNA. Since 1993 Parson has been an instructor of choreography at New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing. She has also taught nationally and internationally including Tokyo and Spoleto, Italy. She was featured in BOMB magazine, and wrote a piece for Dance USA on the state of dance/theater in the U.S. As an artist curator, she has curated shows including: the Merce Cunningham memorial, Dancer Crush at NYLA and Sourcing Stravinsky at DTW. Parson tours a lecture on abstraction called “The Structure of Virtuosity” to universities and for audience development.

    Paul Lazar is a founding member and co-artistic director, along with Annie-B Parson, of Big Dance Theater. He has co-directed and acted in works for Big Dance since 1991, including commissions from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Walker Art Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Classic Stage Company and Japan Society. He recently directed the comedy Elephant Room at St. Anne’s Warehouse for the company Rainpan 43. In the Spring of 2011 he directed Young Jean Lee’s Obie Award winning, We’re Gonna Die. Paul is an Associate Member of The Wooster Group, acting in Brace Up!, Emperor Jones, North Atlantic and The Hairy Ape. Other stage acting credits include Young Jean Lee’s Lear, The Three Sisters at Classic Stage Company, Richard Maxwell’s Cowboys and Indians at Soho Rep, Richard III at Classic Stage Company, Svejk and Tamburlaine at Theatre for a New Audience, Irene Fornes’ Mud at the Signature Theater, and Mac Wellman’s 1965 UU. He has acted in over 30 feature films, including The Host, Mickey Blue Eyes, Silence of the Lambs, Beloved, Lorenzo’s Oil, and Philadelphia and will be in the next film by director Bong Joon Ho (The Host) called Snowpiercer. He currently teaches at New York University.

    Big Dance Theater received New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards in 2002 and 2010; the company was awarded an OBIE in 2000 and BDT company members have received 5 other “Bessie” Awards and an OBIE award for their work with Big Dance. In 2007 the company received the first-ever Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.

    Big Dance Theater has been presented around the world including France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Brazil and Germany and in the USA in venues including: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, City Center Fall for Dance, The Performing Garage, New York Live Arts, The Chocolate Factory, Classic Stage Company, Japan Society, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Walker Art Center, Yerba Buena, On the Boards, UCLA Live, and The Spoleto Festival. Most recent commissions have been from Les Subsistances in Lyon, Chaillot Theatre National in Paris, The Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Walker Art Center.

    Big Dance Theater has been supported by individual donors, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts; Rockefeller MAP Fund; National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts; NYFA’s BUILD Program; The Greenwall Foundation; FUSED, a program of the French US Exchange in Dance in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, Culturesfrance and NEFA/NDP; Altria Group, Inc.; The Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Theatre Initiative; Asian Cultural Council; Mental Insight Foundation; Mid Atlantic Foundaiton’s US Artists International, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; The Tobin Foundation; The JPMorganChase Regrant Fund and the Editih Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation at A.R.T./NY; the Bossak-Heilbron Charitable Foundation; the New Generations Program, funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for American Theater; LMCC Swing Space Program; Jacob’s Pillow Residency Program; and Baryshnikov Arts Center Residency Program.

    “They’ve been at it a long time, splicing dance and theater. But still it bears remarking upon; there are remarkably few artists who do it half as well as this influential duo.” -New York Times

    “It’s hard to do justice to the freewheeling brilliance of Big Dance Theater’s combination of dance, theater, video and idiosyncratic imagination; suffice it to say you should see the work of Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar whenever possible.” -New York Times

    “They consistently make contemporary magic from classical materials.” –New York Times

    “Deeply brilliant… an amazing company” –New York Times

    “The directors, Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson, never fail to fascinate with their seamless integrations of movement, text, video, song and scenic design.” –The New York Times

    “Vivid…always full of surprises.”-New York Times

    “brilliantly entertaining” –New York Times

    Photo: Elizabeth DeMent, Aaron Mattocks and Sonja Kostich in Goats (2010). Photo credit: Julieta Cervantes

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