Parsons’ choreography light, joyful, new ensemble of dancers sizzles

Sure, the modern dance ensemble Parsons Dance doesn’t delve into heavy themes. There is no universal
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What’s not to love about Parsons Dance?

Sure, the modern dance ensemble, as led by David Parsons, doesn’t delve into heavy themes. There is no universal message for mass enlightenment. Nor are there any tortured or baffling visualizations of complex musical score.

What Parsons bestows is pure joy. The dances, as choreographed by Parsons, are about moving with abandon through space in a surging momentum that is undeniably winsome. And it is all done to dancable music.

So ultimately, Parsons reminds everyone why they love dance. It just feels great to groove to music.

As seen on Friday night at The Egg, the company was at its most charismatic.

Part of the reason was Parsons’ crop of dancers. Many of them are new since the company’s last visit. This crew is young, alert and keenly in tune with each other. Thus, they sizzled in the all six of the spiraling and high-flying pieces shown.

The curtain opened on “Closure,” a work that absorbed immediately. Dressed in black see-through tops and black pants, as designed by William Ivey Long, the dancers whirled with speed and precision. To the electronic score by Tony Powell, they fanned out, sawing the air with their arms and tilting their bodies to the side on one leg.

Adorned with references to baroque, flamenco and Indian dance, “Closure” unfolded with symmetry that was pleasing to the eye. Yet the sharp gestures exuded a toughness that punched through to the back row.

More astonishing was the dancers were able to get through “Closure.” It was fast and each stayed on stage for its 15-minute duration. “Closure” left the audience as breathless as these superhuman dancers.

Friday’s show proved again that Parsons is a master with groups. He assembles and disperses dancers in a way that leaves a firm impression.

He did it again in “Union.” Like “Closure,” the dancers remained on stage throughout. But this time, they crawled at a drowsy pace. They tumbled and turned in slow-motion like a multi-limbed creature exploring an unknown territory.

To hypnotic music by John Corigliano and cut-away costumes by Donna Karan — Parsons dancers are always fashionably dressed — “Union” was marked by gliding lifts that rose from this fuming mass of limbs and torsos.

Of course, many people come to a Parsons concert (this one was very well attended, a near sell-out) for one dance: “Caught.”

The solo, once a vehicle for the choreographer who is a former Paul Taylor dancer, is performed at every Parsons performance.

In “Caught,” a strobe light flashes, capturing a dancer in various poses in mid-flight. Thus, the dancer appears to float. No one nailed “Caught” better than Parsons. However, Miguel Quinones came close. He had the strength, flexibility and calm animal attack that made Parsons such an extraordinary dancer.

As usual, the audience went wild well before Quinones landed his last jump.

The company also performed the playful “Hand Dance,” where arms and fingers monkey around in a shaft of light; the summery “Nascimento Novo,” to music by Brazilian composer Milton Nascimento (a favorite of Parsons) and “In the End,” a love letter to the Dave Matthews Band where the dancers let loose to the group’s steamy tunes.

Parsons Dance was light, yes, but oh so enjoyable.

Categories: Life and Arts

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