Parsons Dance Will Return to the Joyce For Annual NYC Homecoming

Performances run May 14th – May 25th.

By: Apr. 11, 2024
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Parsons Dance will return to The Joyce Theater for its annual two-week season, from Tuesday, May 14 through Saturday, May 25.  The program includes three world premieres: David Parsons' The Shape of Us, set to music by Son Lux; Thick As Thieves, choreographed by Penny Saunders with a commissioned score by Michael Wall, performed live; and Juke, created by Jamar Robertsset to Spanish Key, a work by jazz legend Miles Davis.  Also on the program are classic pieces from the Parsons Dance repertory.  The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at West 19th Street.  For more information, please visit For tickets, go to or call JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800.  Ticket prices range from $10 to $72 and are subject to change.    


David Parsons' new full company work, displaying the choreographer's characteristic musicality and wit, is set to the music of Son Lux, the experimental electronic group led by Ryan Lott that received an Oscar nomination for its soundtrack for Everything All at Once, the 2023 Academy Award Best Picture winner.  The Penny Saunders premiere incorporates piano, trumpet, and cello with the amplified sound of dancers' breathing and stomping feet to achieve Saunders' goal of creating something that she describes as “mischievous, mysterious, and fun.”  Former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer and Resident Choreographer Jamal Roberts work draws upon the Miles Davis 1970 seminal album Bitches Brew to provide a mesmerizing background for its seven dancers.


In addition to these three world premieres, performances will feature revered David Parsons pieces representing his repertory of nearly four decades: Whirlaway and Caught.  Also on tap is Takademe, the solo created by Robert Battle in 1999 when he was a Parsons dancer.


A special Joyce Family Matinee, scheduled for Saturday May 18, will provide young audiences wit the opportunity to meet the artists after the performance.


Joyce Theater curtain times are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm and Thursday through Saturdays at 8pm, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.   


DAVID PARSONS (Artistic Director/Co-Founder) has enjoyed a remarkable career as a director, choreographer, performer, master teacher, and producer.  Raised in Kansas City, Parsons made it to New York on a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey School at age 17.  In the early years of his career, he was a leading dancer at The Paul Taylor Dance Company and also danced with New York City Ballet, MOMIX, Berlin Opera and The White Oak Project.  Mr. Parsons has created more than 75 works for Parsons Dance.  Commissions include American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, to name a few.  His works have been performed by Paris Opera Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet de Rio Janeiro, among many others.  Parsons has worked on such diverse projects as Julie Taymor's film Fool's Fire, AIDA at Arena di Verona; Maria de Buenos Aires for Gotham Chamber Opera.  He choreographed and directed the dance elements for Times Square 2000, the 24-hour festivities in Times Square celebrating the Millennium; and Remember Me, a collaboration with East Village Opera Company.  Parsons was the first recipient of the Howard Gilman Fellowship to complete his Master's Degree at Jacksonville University and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Missouri Kansas City.


Penny Saunders, originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, graduated from the Harid Conservatory in 1995, and spent her dancing career with American Repertory Ballet, Ballet Arizona, MOMIX Dance Theater, Cedar Lake Ensemble and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. As a choreographer, Saunders has collaborated with Hubbard Street, Cincinnati Ballet, Whim W'Him, Pacific Northwest Ballet, BalletX, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Tulsa Ballet and Seattle Dance Collective among others, and is currently the Resident Choreographer at The Grand Rapids Ballet. Saunders won the Princess Grace award in 2016, and is also an Artist in Residence at USC Kaufman School of Dance.

Jamar Roberts was the Resident Choreographer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 2019-2022. Mr. Roberts made five works on the Company, all to critical acclaim. He is a graduate of the New World School of the Arts and the Ailey School and has danced for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, and Complexions. Mr. Roberts won the 2016 Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer. Commissions include Vail Dance Festival, Fall for Dance, The Juilliard School, BalletX, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, ABT Studio Company, Martha Graham Dance Co., Miami City Ballet and Works and Process at the Guggenheim. The 2020 March on Washington Film Festival invited Mr. Roberts to create a tribute to John Lewis.


Parsons Dance is an international renowned contemporary dance company under the artistic direction of director/choreographer David Parsons.  Parsons Dance is committed to building new audiences for contemporary dance by creating American works of extraordinary artistry that are both engaging and uplifting to audiences throughout the world.  Parsons Dance tours nationally and internationally, including an annual season in its home community of New York City.  Parsons Dance includes eight full-time dancers and maintains a repertory of more than 75 works choreographed by David Parsons.  Since 1985, Parsons Dance has toured more than 447 cities, 35 countries, five continents and millions of audience members.  Many more have seen Parsons Dance on PBS, Bravo A&E Network and the Discovery Channel.


The Joyce Theater Foundation (“The Joyce” Executive Director, Linda Shelton) a non-profit organization, has proudly served the dance community for over three decades.  Under the founders Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, Ballet Tech Foundation acquired and The Joyce renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea.  Opening as the Joyce in 1982, it was named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz.  It was LuEsther's clear undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater.  Ownership was secured by The Joyce in 2015.  The theater is one of the only theaters built by dancers for dance and has provided an intimate and elegant home for over 400 U.S.-based and international companies.  The Joyce has also expanded its reach beyond its Chelsea home ≠through off-site presentations at venues ranging in scope from Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater, to Brooklyn's Invisible Dog Art Center, and to outdoor programing in spaces such as Hudson River Park.  To further support the creation of new work, The Joyce maintains longstanding commissioning and residency programs.  Local students and teachers (K-12th grade) benefit from its school program, and family and adult audiences get closer to dance with access to artists.  The Joyce annual season of about 48 weeks of dance now includes over 340 performances for audiences in excess of 150,000.


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