Living in the Moment: David Parsons

Here is a guest review of Parsons Dance at McCarter Theatre by Aimee Fullman. Due to my oversight, it was not published in timely manner. In other words, it got lost in my email. But it’s so descriptive that I’m posting it anyway. Pretend you are reading the back copy of a monthly magazine!

McCarter Theatre delivered again as a performance venue of excellence with the presentation of Parsons Dance on November 18. The closing piece (Shining Star 2004) was 70’s themed and seemed very dated despite its recent inception but the rest of program featured five other fantastic works from throughout his prolific career. The opening piece, Wolfgang (2006), was originally choreographed for the Aspen/Santa Fe ballet. Although, the movement was beautiful, his dancers’ training led them to execute it a bit heavily with a lightness missing that was exhibited successfully by the ensemble in other works

By far, the favorite of myself and my companions was the second piece (Ebben-2009) -a duet about longing and an obsessive desire to be noticed. This theme was juxtaposed by the sustained movement and control exhibited by the dancers. It was an excerpt from Remember Me with music powerfully performed by the East Village Opera Company. “Caught” stole the show with its use of precise timed light flashes which in concert with the moving, controlled and repetitive jumps created the illusion of the dancer walking on air and defying gravity. The work still seemed cutting-edge even though it was created in 1982.

Particularly in light of all the recent conversations about the arts in these economic times and its value, I found myself not being drawn in by the performance to a transcendent experience but rather to reconsider the simple joys and pains of being in a body that is earthbound. By my measure of great: do I want to experience that movement physically or can the dancers make me feel the movement and the experience emotionally?—it was a great success—not because I was transported, but because I wasn’t. Every minute I was right there with the idea and it felt very accessible and a rediscovery for me of being in a body. All in all, it was a sophisticated display of the breadth of Parsons’ works and a call to live in the moment.

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