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Rehearsal run-through of Parsons Etude with Richland One Honors Dance Company students

2009-2011, 2015, 2017-2018

Parsons Etude

The Parsons Etude reconstruction provides intergenerational mentorship for all participants. Innovative learning modalities support enhanced motivation, professionalism, authentic expression, and personal connection to the dance which served to redefine community. The dance is an energetic 4-minute medley from David Parsons' repertory. It highlights principles and elements of his style and can be staged as a solo, duet, or for larger groups. Parsons Etude as also been staged as a jam, incorporating less experienced dancers and/or the audience.

When Parsons recalled the 75 pieces he has created for his own dancers over the years, he said, “My works celebrate power, athleticism, and beauty. I pride myself on being able to communicate with an audience. Another theme for my work would be innovation — the upheaval of conventional thought, risk, and the constant journey to use the inspiration I find from the artists, music, and bodies around me to create a magical experience onstage.”

David Parsons was born in Rockford, Illinois on October 29, 1959 and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. From 1978 to 1987, Parsons was a lead dancer with the Paul Taylor Company. Paul Taylor took advantage of Parsons’ unique athleticism and created many roles for him, including Last Look, Roses and Arden Court. Two years before leaving the Taylor Company, Parsons created the Parsons Dance Company, which maintains one of the most active and successful touring schedules of any modern dance company in the United States. Parsons emphasizes the joy of pure movement in his choreography, making him one of the most popular and accessible of the postmodern choreographers. From an interview in Dance Magazine 2000, Parsons said "I want audiences to understand what I'm saying and at the same time offer them something for the imagination and personal interpretation. I think it's very important as an artist to touch people."

Dance educator and scholar, Diane McGhee, asks “how do we distinguish the qualities of a Graham dance from a Limon work.” “What cultural and historical information should every American citizen know.” “How do dancers bring the underpinnings of masterworks into common knowledge.”  American Dance Legacy Institute Repertory Etude collection is an ideal way for dance educators to bring masterworks in dance to their students.

Over the past 11 years, I have directed many collaborative repertory etudes restaging’s: including working with community teachers, middle school students, University practicum students as leaders, and university students at both USC and UNCG. The Parsons Etude is a particular favorite because of its line, speed and physicality and the all-or-nothing approach to the dance required.

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