Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just Say No to Nay!

David Parsons, artistic director of Parsons Dance, is my favorite choreographer. I enjoy his sense of humor, his musicality, the way he moves dancers on and off stage and the amazing partnering he creates. I have seen his signature solo Caught performed at least ten times and each time it is thrilling. I see his company at least once each year at the Joyce Theater.

At today's matinee I was sitting in the loge area and had several empty seats next to me. Just before the last piece on the program, called Scrutiny, Mr. Parsons took one of the seats. Although the music and costumes dated the piece, which was created in 1987, I enjoyed seeing how Mr. Parson's choreographic style developed from his "early" days as a choreographer. The program notes and the choreography made it clear that the piece was about "societal pressures to conform."

After the performance I congratulated him on another brilliant production and told him that the only piece I had not seen previously was the finale. He said that it was the first time he had revisited the work since its creation. He told me he choreographed it at age 26 just as he was thinking of starting a company. The dance was his response to all the nay-sayers who said he would never be successful with a company of his own. I wonder where all those people are 23 years later?

We are often discouraged from following our artistic dreams by a variety of people for a variety of reasons. I have taken several of my high school students to see Parsons Dance over the years and wanted to share with them that even someone as accomplished and talented as he is, had pessimists and defeatists "looking over his shoulder" along the way...hence this post. Thank goodness Mr. Parsons didn't listen to the nay-sayers.

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