about big dance
Founded in 1991, Big Dance Theater is known for its inspired use of dance, music, text and visual design. The company often works with wildly incongruent source material, weaving and braiding disparate strands into multi-dimensional performance. Led by Co-Artistic Directors Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, Big Dance has delved into the literary work of such authors as Twain, Tanizaki, Wellman, Euripides and Flaubert, and dance is used as both frame and metaphor to theatricalize these writings.
“A boldly arranged marriage of dance and theater that is equal parts classical and contemporary text, deft music-theater composition, gifted ensemble and inspired design. A constantly startling body of work.”
– 2002 Bessie Award
For 25 years, Big Dance Theater has worked to create over 20 dance/theater works, generating each piece over months of collaboration with its associate artists, a long-standing, ever-evolving group of actors, dancers, composers and designers. In March of 2014, the company premiered Alan Smithee Directed This Play, at Les Subsistances in Lyon, France and Berlin, ahead of its return to the BAM Harvey Theater in the fall of 2014. Their production Man in a Case, which featured Mikhail Baryshnikov, premiered at Hartford Stage and recently toured to Berkeley Repertory Theater, The Shakespeare Theater in DC, The Majestic in Boston, Broad Stage in Santa Monica, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The 25th Anniversary Program, Big Dance: Short Form, premiered at the American Dance Institute and The Kitchen NYC, and will be performed at Fusebox Festival in Austin, and the ICA/Boston. Their most recent work, This Page Left Intentionally Blank, was developed at Mass MoCA and will premiere at the Menil Collection as part of the 2016 CounterCurrent Festival in Houston, TX.
Big Dance Theater received New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards in 2002 and 2010; the company was awarded an OBIE in 2000 and BDT company members have received 5 other “Bessie” Awards and an OBIE award for their work with Big Dance. In 2007 the company received the first-ever Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.
Big Dance Theater has been presented around the world including France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Brazil and Germany and in the USA in venues including: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, City Center Fall for Dance, The Performing Garage, New York Live Arts, The Chocolate Factory, Classic Stage Company, Japan Society, Under the Radar, American Realness, PS122’s COIL Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Walker Art Center, Yerba Buena, On the Boards, UCLA Live, and The Spoleto Festival. Most recent commissions have been from Les Subsistances in Lyon, Chaillot Theatre National in Paris, The Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Walker Art Center.
Big Dance Theater has been supported by individual donors, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Rockefeller MAP Fund; National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts; NYFA’s BUILD Program; The Greenwall Foundation; FUSED, a program of the French US Exchange in Dance in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, Culturesfrance and NEFA/NDP; Altria Group, Inc.; The Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Theatre Initiative; Asian Cultural Council; Mental Insight Foundation; Mid Atlantic Foundation’s US Artists International, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; The Tobin Foundation; The JPMorganChase Regrant Fund and the Editih Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation at A.R.T./NY; the Bossak-Heilbron Charitable Foundation; the New Generations Program, funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for American Theater; LMCC Swing Space Program; Jacob’s Pillow Residency Program; and Baryshnikov Arts Center Residency Program.