Discipline: Theatre – performance

Annie-B Parson

Discipline: Theatre – performance
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2016

Choreographer Annie-B Parson co-founded Big Dance Theater in 1991 with Molly Hickok and Paul Lazar. She has choreographed and co-created over 20 works for the company, ranging from pure dance pieces to adaptations of found text, plays, and literature, to original works combining wildly disparate materials. Her work with Big Dance has been commissioned by The Old Vic/London, Les Subsistances in France, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The National Theater of Paris/Chaillot, The Japan Society, The Walker Art Center, The Kitchen, and many other theaters.

Outside of Big Dance, Ms. Parson has created choreography for opera, pop musicians, television, movies, theater, ballet, marching bands, and symphonies. Most recently, Parson choreographed David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway. Parson also choreographed one thousand singers for a work by David Lang at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Other work includes David Byrne’s musical Here Lies Love at both the Public Theater and The National Theater in London; David Byrne’s 2012 world tour with St. Vincent and a marching band; Byrne’s 2008 Brian Eno world tour, and many of his television appearances including Jimmy Fallon, Colbert and others. She also created the choreography for St. Vincent’s 2014 world tour, as well as her performances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, her appearance in the David Lynch festival, the Hollywood Bowl, her world tour of Mass Seduction 2018, and on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Kimmel. Parson has two large-scale works in repertory at The Martha Graham Dance Company, and she created a solo for Wendy Whelan commissioned by the Royal Ballet. Her dances are featured in the film Ride, Roar, Rise about David Byrne, among others. Her work for theater, opera, and film includes choreography for the David Bowie/Ivo Van Hove’s Lazarus at New York Theatre Workshop, which performed in Amsterdam, London, and NY. Also, she made dances for Jonathan Demme movie Ricki and the Flash, Nico Muhly’s opera Dark Sisters, and such plays as Lucas Hnath’s Walt Disney at Soho Rep, In the Blood by Suzan Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, Futurity at ART, as well as a large-scale work for the string quartet ETHEL.

Her awards include the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2014), an Olivier Award nomination in choreography (2015), Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2014), USA Artists Grant in theater (2012), Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography (2007), two BESSIE awards (2010, 2002), and three NYFA Choreography Fellowships (2013, 2006 and 2000). Big Dance Theater received an OBIE (2000), the first Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award (2007), and a Bessie Honoree (2020). Parson has been nominated for the CalArts/Alpert Award seven times and has received three Lucille Lortel nominations (2014, 2012, 2011). She was a YCC choreographer at The American Dance Festival. She received the FRANKY award with Paul Lazar.

Her recent book, Drawing the Surface of Dance: A Biography in Charts is published by Wesleyan Press. Her 2016 book on choreography: Dance by Letter, is published by 53rd State Press. Parson has also produced a deck of cards on the subject of the elements of composition.

Since 1993 Parson has been an instructor of choreography at New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing. She has taught widely including at Ballet Rambert, Yale, and Princeton. She was featured in BOMB magazine, and has written articles for Ballet Review, Movement Research Journal, and drawing for The Brooklyn Rail, as well as a piece for Dance USA on the state of dance/theater in the U.S. and given a talk on the use of Poetic Forms in adapting text at the Poetry Center. As an artist-curator, she has curated shows including Merce Cunningham’s memorial We Give Ourselves Away at Every Moment, Dancer Crush at NYLA and Sourcing Stravinsky at DTW. Parson tours a lecture on abstraction called The Virtuosity of Structure to universities and for audience development.


New Hampshire

Annie-B Parson worked in the New Hampshire studio.

New Hampshire Studio, originally named Peterborough Studio, was given to MacDowell by Mr. and Mrs. William Schofield, Mrs. H. A. Chamberlain, Mrs. Andrew Draper, and Miss Ruth Cheney. The studio was renamed in 1943. The Gilbert Verney Foundation established an endowed maintenance fund in 1990, and a bequest in memory of MacDowell Fellow Victor Candell underwrote the…

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