Parsons Dance performs at Fairfield University October 3


With the sexy athleticism and joyous movement that is a hallmark of this internationally acclaimed company, Parsons Dance comes to the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University on Friday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. Following the performance, there will be an Art to Heart question and answer interlude with the company.

Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times called founder, artistic director and choreographer David Parsons, "one of the great movers of modern dance."

The program for this performance, with an ensemble of eleven deftly energetic dancers, includes "Caught," Parsons' unforgettable signature stroboscopic tour-de-force that features a solo dancer defying gravity and flying above the stage to music by Robert Fripp. This work from 1982 was described by one critic as "one of the great pieces of recent times."

Parson's love of dramatic lighting effects - as always created by company co-founder Howell Binkley - and jazz music are sinuously evident in "Fill the Woods With Light," a company ensemble piece. Featuring a commissioned score by Phil Woods' Little Big Band, the dancers occupy the nocturnal world of jazz music, lighting each other with a variety of hand-held lighting instruments.

Inspired by a performance of Parsons Dance in 1990, Brazilian guitarist and composer Milton Nascimento created a score of seductive samba rhythms as a gift to the company. The resultant dance that evolved from the inventive and uplifting music proves to be a celebration of life, music and dance in which couples fly across the stage in sophisticated spatial patterns, abandoning themselves to the uninhibited thrill of dancing. This work marked an important collaboration and in 2006, the legendary Brazilian composer created "Nascimento Novo" on a commission by Parsons Dance Vice President Stephen Morris in honor of his wife's birthday.

The latest work returns to the mesmerizing and exotic music once again, using the world-renowned percussionists of Nascimento's band, playing an astonishing array of Brazilian instruments and styles rarely heard outside Brazil.

Also on the program, is "Shining Star," an upbeat, high-energy romp set to a series of disco-era hits with music by Earth, Wind & Fire. Parsons' choreography blends social dancing with a jazzy, smooth style that celebrates the party scene of the 1970s. It showcases witty, playful ensemble numbers and features a sensuously soulful duet as its centerpiece. Commissioned by Sandy Weill in honor of his wife Joan and her commitment to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, "Shining Star" provides the dancers with a vehicle through which their pure joy laced with funky attitude shines through.

Tickets are $45, $40 and $35 and are available online at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For further information, visit fairfield.edu/quick

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 23, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 64