BWW Review: PARSONS DANCE Triumphs at a Night Honoring Stephen Schwartz

BWW Review: PARSONS DANCE Triumphs at a Night Honoring Stephen Schwartz

BWW Review: PARSONS DANCE Triumphs at a Night Honoring Stephen Schwartz

Bold. Miraculous. Spellbinding: these are just some of the words that come to mind when describing Parson Dance's residency at The Joyce Theater. A company known for its rule-breaking choreography and impressive style, they continued to exceed expectations last Tuesday evening at a program honoring iconic composer Stephen Schwartz.

The first piece, "Microburst", set the tone for the entire evening with its brilliant, fiery energy and rhythmic music, composed and performed by Avirodh Sharma. Grounded in the floor and the resonances of Sharma's timbres, the dancers mastered Parsons' athletically wondrous choreography, built around defying jumps, fast footwork, and exciting dancer-on-dancer contact. The piece, one of repetition and play, endured for quite some time, but the dancers maintained their incredible vibrancy all the way through.

Tribute was paid to the legendary Stephen Schwartz in the next piece to his own composition, "Stranger to the Rain". Accompanied by the warm, brassy voice of Broadway veteran vocalist, Shoshana Bean, the contemporary duet was sweet and sensual, a bevy of intricate lifts and turns that mesmerized the audience, sending everyone into a spiral. It was both effortless and easy to watch.

The third piece was a very special solo called "Reflections," choreographed and performed by Abby Silva Gavezzoli. A longtime dancer and collaborator of Parsons, Gavezzoli is a light, casting the stage in brightness and joy with every line and arch of her body. A piece dedicated to the meditation and exploration of the self, the choreography was fragile and contained, but in a way that lent itself to be seen and remembered by audience goers.

But it was the fourth piece of the evening that made the biggest splash, and will remain emblazoned in my memory for years to come. A staple of the company's repertoire, "Caught" is a frenetic solo, powerful in both its speed and ferocious choreography. Danced by the dynamic Zoey Anderson, the piece was a constant test of her will and desire to fly. Aided by carefully timed strobe lights, it would appear that Zoey's feet never touched the ground, the lights illuminating just her rise into the air and never her descent. It was breathtaking; audience goers sat on the edge of their seats with excited anticipation.

BWW Review: PARSONS DANCE Triumphs at a Night Honoring Stephen Schwartz

The evening closed on "Ma Maison", a dance commissioned by the New Orleans Ballet Association and choreographed by Trey McIntyre. Imbued with the opulence and jazzy undertones one should expect, the dancers brought the quirk and the drama.

Overall, this was one of the most well rounded performances I've seen in a while. Bravo to the entire cast!

Photo Credit: © Yi-Chun Wu

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Christina Pandolfi Christina Pandolfi is a New York native, born and raised on Long Island. She began her dance training at St. James' Seiskaya Ballet Academy under the distinct training of former National Opera of Greece ballerina, Valia Seiskaya. She studied with Seiskaya for thirteen years, dancing prominent roles in traditional and original ballets, including: Clara and The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Kitri in the Don Quixote Wedding Pas de Deux and Odile in the Black Swan Pas de Deux. Christina also studied modern dance, beginning at the age of 14 under former Paul Taylor dancer, Heather Berest, all which lead to her acceptance into the prestigious dance department at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Christina has performed extensively and worked with esteemed dancers and choreographers, such as Eleanor D 'Antuono, Deborah Jowitt, James Sutton, Gus Solomons Jr., Robert Battle, Larry Keigwin, Michael Cusumano and Kay Cummings. She loves all dance and is a Broadway aficionado.