(grandlifehotels.com) This time, we headed over to Eighth Avenue and 18th Street for Parsons Dance, an innovative group led by Artistic Director and choreographer David Parsons. It has often struck me that we adore the Met Opera, steward of great operas of the past, but rarely go to see new works mounted there–our limitation you might say. Maybe it’s because it requires a huge investment of time and money to experiment. If you don’t like it–there’s three hours and lots of cash gone.
(joyce.org)When we attend dance programs, especially in the format of three-five short ballets created by George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet, and still used in many places, we see a new work that takes maybe an hour at most and is buttressed by other more familiar works. This particular evening, we saw a Parsons New York premiere, “Finding Center,” (nytimes.com) and a world premiere choreographed by Katarzne Skarpetowska, “Almah.” In between and around, we saw two earlier ballets by Parsons, “Caught,” and “Union,” plus a 2008 work by Robert Battle, now the artistic director of Alvin Ailey, “Train.” This kind of programming makes it a lot more fun to enjoy the new stuff and revel in the old. If you don’t like one of them,well, not much lost.(loisgreenfield) I particularly loved Parsons’ signature piece, “Caught,” an amazing study of movement and light where you see the dancer only lit when he is in the air. (angeloredaeli)The effect is astonishingly like flying and nothing like anything I have ever seen before. Composers debuted in and returned to the company through commissions and Parsons fellowships. The joy and excitement in “Nascimento” named for celebrated Brazilian composer/singer Milton Nascimento reminded me of Paul Taylor’s great “Esplanade,” danced to J.S. Bach.(parsons.org) For those who don’t know the Joyce, it’s a perfect theater for dance, holds several hundred people and there are no bad seats. We love to go and sit in the rear, where there are five comfy armchairs and lots of space. These seats don’t cost any more but you have to be quick to get them. Prices for individual seats run anywhere from $20 to $60, depending on which company you go to see. You can also find tickets to the Joyce on TDF and enjoy first class dance at mini prices.
I regret to tell you that Parsons Dance is over for this year but there is a constant stream of good companies just waiting to be seen. NB They have a cute cafe downstairs or you can dine at Westville Chelsea, around the corner on 18th. (tripadvisor.com) It has an amazing menu that includes many market veggies of the day. It’s casual, good and incredibly cheap for which reasons it crowds up and gets noisy but you’re going to the Joyce anyway.