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.
From August 14 to September 2, 2023, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts in upstate New York hosted a three-week residency program allowing for creative time for the artists, technical element exploration, community engagement activities, masterclasses and a public performance.
The residency goals had two very specific aims: to allow unrestricted creative time in the studios and theatre to prepare for an upcoming New York City premiere during their 2024 season and to deeply integrate the company into the local community – forming connects and developing deep relationships beyond those already established.
For the first two weeks of the residency, the company established a series of open rehearsals that community members were able to join. Every open rehearsal had between two and ten locals attend and participate – including those both with and without prior formal dance training.
During each week, a specifically targeting informal showing was held. One showing in the dance studio and another at a local rooftop bar. Both showings were done without tech and allowed for the audience to interact directly with the dancers and founder David Parsons. These informal showings drove attendance to the final public performance held at the conclusion of the residency.