Caught in the Air by Intense Illumination
Nicholas Croft | New York | 12/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Parsons had studied gymnastics before being introduced to dance through Alvin Ailey's association with Leonard Bernstein's "Mass". Some years later, after a brief fling with audio engineering work, he joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company, eventually becoming one of the male lead dancers. After hours, he experimented with his own choreography and some of these pieces came to be presented at New York City's Dance Theater Workshop. Elliot Feld purchased one such work and it was this confidence, in Mr. Parson's talent, that lead David to starting the Parsons Dance Company in 1987."The Parsons Dance Company" DVD features seven separate pieces that consist of two different styles of video translation. The first three works on the disc, "Fine Dining", "Brothers" and "Reflections of Four", take full advantage of the capability of video as a recording medium. These pieces incorporate set design, editing, composition and lighting that would be difficult to translate into a live theater setting.The last four works, "Caught", "Scrutiny", "The Envelope" and "Nascimento" are performed on a more or less traditional dance stage, with minimal set design and a surreal lighting sensibility. These four works appear to proceed as live events, with the camera work and editing used mostly to support documentation of the stage choreography.Each of the seven pieces is introduced by David Parsons and a short verbal portrait of the principle dancers, in the Parsons Company, is presented towards the end of the disc.The music chosen for the dances is by David Linton, Igor Stravinsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Robert Fripp, Michael Raye, Gioacchino Rossini and Milton Nascimento. The duration of the entire presentation runs some One Hundred and Sixteen minutes. "The Parsons Dance Company" DVD can be recommended, without reservation, to all fans of contemporary dance, for the physical zeal of the dancers, their humor, their grace, and also for the fine technical quality of the audio/video recording."
Timothy Walden | Asheville, NC United States | 02/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Filming a dance piece designed to be performed live is, like any other translation, a compromise at best. The beauty and athleticism here is amazing. Black tights against a black background in some pieces made the dancers legs difficult to see. Maybe I was supposed to be distracted from their legs in the water piece, Reflections of Four, or not notice them in the silliness of The Envelope. In live performance, in was breathtaking to see David Parsons floating above the stage in his signature piece, Caught. In the recording, it was difficult to tell what was going on. Wonderful performances, but also see the company live if you can."