BWW Reviews: David Parsons at the Joyce
The choreography of David Parsons has always been a mystery to me. He has ideas and a vision, yet they never gel. This was apparent to my colleague and me when we attended the David Parsons gala on January 14. While not exclusively dedicated to Mr. Parsons-there were tributes to Paul Taylor in whose company Parsons danced, and Robert Battle, who performed in the Parsons company--we came away feeling that if this is what we have to show for modern dance today, it needs some rejuvenation-and thought. Why are these works being done when there is little that they say?
David Parson's Introduction began the evening. The opening, with a group moving together center stage, offered the promise of an interesting journey. The music by Rubin Kodheli was intoxicating, inviting swaying and fluid movements. After a few minutes, however, it became apparent that the dance vocabulary was not rich enough to keep up with the music, a criticism that has been leveled at Mr. Parson on numerous occasions. Nothing was said in any creative way. Time was spent watching the dance, but little in terms of payment.
Parsons Brothers presented another interesting idea having two men exploring a sibling relationship in which they take turns being dominant or submissive. Yet again, the thought process was not clear. Once the point was made in the first two minutes, there was nothing left to the imagination-just the steady drone of another misfire. Why did Parsons choreograph it in the first place? Was it the Stravinsky music, Concertino for 12 instruments? Was there some sort of affinity between music and the movement? We don't know.
The Parsons piece of the evening that ignited was his familiar Caught. Performed by the bravura dancer, Clifton Brown, the dance moves from one strobe light to another, catching the dancer in some dazzling flights of gravity defying motions. The audience always responds vigorously when the dance concludes. I agree; the piece is energetic, highly theatrical and presents a unique and distinctive vision. Parsons has ignited our imagination as well as our brains. So we sit aroused and wait for more.