Parsons dances with the (classical) stars

David Parsons recalls the feeling of sitting in New York’s Town Hall, seeing the fusion of opera and rock music performed by the East Village Opera Company, and suddenly feeling electrified by a form of music he’d never much connected with.

“They blew me away,” the Parsons Dance founder/ choreographer says. “I was totally into their reincarnation of this music, a lot of which is 300 years old. It sounded so fresh, I thought, man, this is something I would like to reintroduce to young people and old people alike, because these are the classic melodies in our society.”

The result, “Remember Me,” is a multimedia spectacle combining dance, aerial work, digital projections, intensive lighting design and East Village Opera’s iconoclastic take on Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and Schubert. Thirteen pieces are combined to portray a classic love triangle with a decidedly modern bent.

“It’s a real emotional journey for the audience, this contemporary vocabulary with these older songs,” Parsons says. “It’s about letting people really feel the emotion of these characters. I wanted people to know exactly what was going on, not to have big question marks in front of their faces like you do at a lot of dance theater.”

Popular demand

Opening the evening will be Parsons’ classic “Caught,” which uses strobe lighting to catch isolated moments in time, creating the illusion of dancers flying and levitating. Created in 1982, the work has become the company’s signature. “People get upset if they don’t see it,” Parsons says, likening it to a band’s biggest hit. “There’s not a lot of contemporary dance companies that have those kinds of pieces in their repertoire, so I think of it as a gift that I made it.”

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