A master of cross-pollination, Annie-B Parson pulls material from dance, film, music, literature, theater and more into deeply satisfying dialogues. And she has a busy fall: Her new book is being published in November. Big Dance Theater, the company she leads in partnership with Paul Lazar, brings three works to the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts November 8 and 9. And American Utopia, the acclaimed concert tour she choreographed for David Byrne and an ensemble of musicians, appears on Broadway from October through January.
What is "dance theater"?Is it Pina Bausch's raw examinations of everyday life? Is it performance that mixes movement and text? Is it dance that tells a story? Dance Magazine talked with four choreographers who use elements of dance and theater—but whose work escapes easy categorization—about playing with narrative, integrating movement and words, and what "dance theater" means to them.
Dance theater, to me personally, means that there's no hierarchy of materials you can use to make a piece. Movement is not more important; text and narrative aren't more important. I feel this complete free range as I try to express something, to use a whole variety of theatrical elements, like relationship, cause and effect, clothes, dance, singing, talking, found text, plays, literature—this cornucopia of theatrical possibilities.