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.
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