Deeping the Connection Between Parsons Dance Company and the Adirondacks

Parsons Dance. Photo by Paul Roeser

Year: 2024-2025
DanceForce Member: James Lemons
Artists: Rebecca Josue, David Parsons
Community Partners: Lake Placid School District, Northwood School, Lake Placid School of Dance
Audience: 690
County: Essex

Parsons Dance is a contemporary American dance company, internationally renowned for its energized, athletic ensemble work. Founded in 1985 by Artistic Director David Parsons and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Howell Binkley, the company has toured to more than 445 cities, 30 countries, and 5 continents. Parsons Dance is committed to providing enriching experiences beyond its performances as it seeks to engage audiences of all ages through education and outreach programs; through post-show discussions, open rehearsals, studio showcases, video workshops, open company classes, summer workshops for pre-professional dancers; and in-school workshops for public school students. All these activities are driven by the vision of Artistic Director David Parsons, who, for more than 30 years, has combined his choreographic gifts and talent for training highly skilled dancers with a real passion for the art form.

In August 2023, Parsons Dance Company was in residency at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for artistic creation, technical element exploration, community engagement activities, and a public performance.

The event was exceptionally successful both to the artists and for the community. The residency allowed the company to prepare for their 2024 season at NYC’s Joyce Theatre and allowed a connection to the community through extensive, free outreach. Connections were created and relationships were established.

In evaluating the program, it was determined that young people – particularly those in grades 2 through 12, were not able to benefit from the program primarily due to the summer timeframe. For 2024, strategies were created specifically to address this gap.

The residency has shifted to take place September 9 through 28. While the same programmatic outreach – masterclasses, open rehearsals, company classes – will continue, this date shift will allow the company to offer two school day matinee performances allowing more than 300 school-aged children to see a live dance performance. Additionally, the company will offer a week of free instruction to students of the Lake Placid School of Dance as they return from summer break and prepare for a new semester of training to begin.

The residency will include one public performance on September 20, 2024.