Big Dance Theater Celebrates 25th Anniversary with BIG DANCE: SHORT FORM in January

Hickok, Big Dance Theater has been a cornerstone of New York City's avant-garde performance community, influencing a new generation of creators and performers. The New York Times has called their work "brilliantly entertaining," "exquisitely constructed collaborations" and urged audiences to "see [their] work whenever possible" In celebration of Big Dance Theater's 25th anniversary, The Kitchen is pleased to present the New York premiere of Big Dance: Short Form, a return to the company's dance roots. Big Dance: Short Form is Big Dance Theater, distilled. This evening of short-form works theatrically re-imagines the conventions of a repertory program, presenting the company's unique blend of dance-theater on an intimate scale, including a fifteen-minute birthday party at its center. Intermission will never be the same.

Inspired by disciplines of the concise - diary entries, pencil drawings, novellas, folk tales, thumbnail sketches and the single page of a notebook-Big Dance Theater performs five distinct works, each a New York premiere, that embrace the brief, granular, close range, anecdotal and microscopic. In Big Dance: Short Form, downsizing is prized.

Solos, duets and group work will 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 contemporary artists in New York for the past 25 years. The Washington Post recently praised BDT performers for their, "extraordinary commitment and lack of self-seriousness," commenting they "ha[ve] our sympathies all the way through."

Performances of Big Dance: Short Form will take place January 6 - 9 and 13 - 16 at 8pm at The Kitchen, which is located at 512 West 19th Street in Manhattan. Tickets are $25 ($20 students, seniors) and can be purchased online at or by phone at 212.255.5793 x11. Critics are welcome as of January 6. Program details can be found below.

Big Dance Theater is known for its vivid and integrated use of dance, music, text and visual design. The company often works with wildly incongruent source material, weaving and braiding disparate strands into multi-dimensional performance. Led by Co-Artistic Directors Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, Big Dance has delved into the literary work of such authors as Twain, Tanizaki, Wellman, Euripides and Flaubert, and dance is used as both frame and metaphor to theatricalize these writings. For nearly 25 years, Big Dance Theater has worked to create over 20 dance/theater works, generating each piece over months of collaboration with its associate artists, a long-standing, ever-evolving group of actors, dancers, composers and designers. Design elements are considered equal forces in the palette of the company's signature style.

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, the Republic of Georgia, 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, Lyon; Chaillot/National Theater, Paris; The Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Walker Art Center.

Big Dance: Short Form Program Details

Summer Forever
Performed by Tymberly Canale
Choreography and sound design: Annie-B Parson
Additional sound: Tei Blow
Lighting: Joe Levasseur
Costume: Oana Botez
Voiceover: Cynthia Hopkins
Text(s): Mark Twain, Sibyl Kempson

Originally shown as a work in progress at CATCH 50 at the Chocolate Factory Theater (May 5, 2012) and in a tribute to Cathy Edwards at the Movement Research gala (May 13, 2013)

Short Ride Out (3): He Rides Out
Performed by Aaron Mattocks
Choreography: Annie-B Parson
Music: Tei Blow and Eben Hoffer
Lighting: Joe Levasseur
Costume: Oana Botez

Short Ride Out (3): He Rides Out is the third in a trilogy of solos inspired by Stravinsky's Concerto for Two Pianos, II. Notturno, composed in 1935. Short Ride Out (1) was created for and performed by dancer Tricia Brouk at a work in progress showing at PS122's Dance Off (April 6, 2005). Short Ride Out (2) was created for and premiered by dancer Wendy Whelan at Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London (July 9, 2015).

Resplendent Shimmering Topaz Waterfall
Performed by Paul Lazar and Tymberly Canale
Choreography: Annie-B Parson
Sound: Tei Blow
Lighting: Joe Levasseur
Costumes: Suzanne Bocanegra

Based on page 79 of Costume En Face, notebook notations of work by Tatsumi Hijikata transcribed by his disciples.

The Art of Dancing
Performed by Elizabeth DeMent and Aaron Mattocks
Choreography: Annie-B Parson
Sound: Tei Blow
Lighting: Joe Levasseur
Costumes: Oana Botez

Based on the diaries of Samuel Pepys, 1661-1667.
Commissioned, in part, by the Irving Harris Foundation.

Created by Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson
Set: Joanne Howard
Video: Jeff Larson
Lighting: Joe Levasseur


Performed by Tymberly Canale, Elizabeth DeMent, Jennie Liu, Aaron Mattocks and Enrico D. Wey
Created by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar
Sound: Annie-B Parson and Tei Blow
Additional Music: Brunk / Bert Vanden Berghe
Lighting: Joe Levasseur
Costumes: Oana Botez
Based on Heidi by Johanna Spyri (1881).

Originally commissioned by OtherShore (Sonja Kostich and Brandi Norton, artistic directors) in 2009.

About the Artists

Annie-B Parson(Choreographer and Co-Director) co-founded Big Dance Theater in 1991. She has choreographed and co-created over 20 works for the company, ranging from pure dance pieces, to adaptations of found text, plays, and literature, to original works combining wildly disparate materials. Her work with Big Dance has been commissioned by Les Subsistance in Lyon, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The National Theater of Paris/Chaillot, The Japan Society, The Walker Art Center, and many others, and has performed in scores of venues, most recently at Tanz Im August in Berlin.

Outside of Big Dance, Ms. Parson has created choreography for operas, pop stars, television, movies, theater, ballet and symphonies. She choreographed for David Byrne's musical HERE LIES LOVE at both the Public Theater and The National Theater in London; David Byrne's 2012 world tour with St. Vincent and a marching band; and for Byrne's 2008 Brian Eno world tour. She also created the choreography for St. Vincent's 2014 world tour, as well as her show with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Jimmy Fallon. Parson currently has a work in rep at The Martha Graham Dance Company and for Wendy Whelan commissioned by the Royal Ballet. Her dances are featured in the film Ride, Roar, Rise about David Byrne, among others. Her work for theater, opera and film includes the recent Meryl Streep/Jonathan Demme movie Ricki and the Flash, for Nico Mthly's opera Dark Sisters, and such plays as Lucas Hnath's Walt Disney at Soho Rep, Sarah Ruhl's Orlando, Futurity at ART, as well as the string quartet ETHEL. She most recently choreographed for David Bowie/Ivo Van Hove's new work Lazarus.

Paul Lazar (Co-Director and Performer) 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. He is directing a version of We're Gonna Die featuring David Byrne this summer in London at the Meltdown Festival. 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 Tamburlaine at Theatre For A New Audience, 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 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, Philadelphia, The Host and Snowpiercer. He currently teaches at Yale University and New York University.

Funding Credits

Big Dance: Short Form premiered on November 6, 2015 at American Dance Institute (ADI), as part of ADI's Incubator program, and was developed in part during residencies at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Kitchen.A creative residency was also provided by the Chocolate Factory Theater, as part of the Hatchery Project, with lead support by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional funding by the National Endowment for the Arts. Big Dance: Short Form is made possible, in part, by the Irving Harris Foundation, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additionally, the production received funding from the Starry Night Fund; the W Trust; the McGue Millhiser Family Trust; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New York Theater Program; and was also funded, in part, by the Big Dance Theater Creation Circle, lead individual contributors committed to the development and support of the company's newest works: Jill Abbott, Anthony Bowe, Lisa Lee, and Martha Sherman.

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