Parsons' uncorks 'Remember Me' at the Annenberg Center

December 3, 2010

by Lewis Whittington
EDGE Contributor
Wednesday Dec 1, 2010

The David Parsons Dance Company returns to the Annenberg Center after several years with Remember Me a collaboration of dance and opera drama. Parsons joined forces with the East Village Opera Company for his first time full-length dance work. The troupe has been developing it for two years and it attracts crossover audiences. A wide variety of styles

Parsons spoke by phone from New York about the upcoming Philly concert. "We’ve been working on this for two years. It came about because I was just enthralled by the music by the East Village Opera Company."

Remember Me started out as a single night event of contemporized arias by EVOC at Joe’s Pub in New York and was such a hit they had and extended run which led to very successful recordings. The musicians tried to imagine some of operas most famous arias in arrangements that the composers might choose had they worked with electric instruments and sound design. EVOC’s vocalists Tyley Ross and Anne-Marie Milazzo are onstage with the Parsons dancers as narrators.

Milazzo provided contemporary lyrics in English for the 13 arias into a cohesive story. "Anne-Marie wrote lyrics for such shows as Spring Awakening and Next to Normal. So we were so glad to be able to work with her and Tyler. They really know how to arrange this music for younger audiences in a classy way. "Parsons explained.

Aside from the high concept music, the costumes are by a Project Runway designer Austin Scarlett and " We use multimedia video, which. I actually edited myself. "Parsons said. "We put together a story line. I let loose as far as emotional content. Choreographically I went over the top with this. It’s a totally charged experience of music and dance."

Parsons dancers are known for a wide variety of styles from insect-like movement of The Envelope to the sultry dance ballades of Milton Nascimento and are always athletically dynamic. Remember Me is a departure for them as a full-out over the top story. "The dancers very physical, they tour all over the world and know other cultures and it shows onstage."

Parsons most famous piece, the explosive Caught, a solo first danced by David Parsons himself, will open the Philly performances. Caught, set to electopychedelic music by Robert Fripp, manipulates strobe lighting to make it appear that the dancer never touches the ground, in fact, the performer appears to be frozen or moving in mid-air. It looks like the dancer is being punched through another dimension.It has never been executed with more precision than by Miquel Quinones in this performance.