Photo: Jeff Brown.

(choreographer and director)

Annie-B Parson is the artistic director of OBIE and BESSIE award-winning Big Dance Theater, which she co-founded in 1991 with Molly Hickok and Paul Lazar. Outside of Big Dance Theater, some of the artists she has made dance for include David Byrne, David Bowie, Lorde, St. Vincent, Kim Deal, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Wendy Whelan, Anne Carson, Esperanza Spalding, Suzan-Lori Parks, Laurie Anderson, Salt n Pepa, and Jonathan Demme. Additionally Parson has created two large scale works for the Martha Graham Dance Company, and one for the Sadlers Wells Company of Elders. Parson choreographed and did musical staging for David Byrne’s American Utopia, a world tour that ran on Broadway, won a TONY award, and was made into a film by Spike Lee. She choreographed Byrne’s musical Here Lies Love on Broadway, The Public Theater and The National Theater in London, as well as Byrne’s world tours with Brian Eno, and with St. Vincent. She also choreographed two concert tours for St. Vincent. Parson recently choreographed two operas: Candide at the Lyon Opera, and The Hours at The Metropolitan Opera. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, Bessie Awards, The Jacobs Pillow Dance Award, a USA Artist Award, The Doris Duke Artist Award and The Foundation for Contemporary Artaward. She received a TONY nomination, an Olivier nomination, and two Lucille Lortel nominations. Parson has been honored by Danspace, and by PS122. Parson’s writing has been published in The Atlantic, and The Paris Review. Her recent book The Choreography of Everyday Life is published by Verso Press. With Thomas F. DeFrantz, she co-edited a book entitled: Dance History(s): Imagination as a Form of Study published by Big Dance, Dancing Foxes, and Wesleyan Press to be launched in the Fall of 2024.

Photo: Brad Harris.

(lead artist)

Paul Lazar is a founding member, along with Annie-B Parson, of Big Dance Theater. He has directed, co-directed, and acted in works for Big Dance since 1991, including commissions from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Walker Art Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Classic Stage Company, and Japan Society. In 2017 Paul premiered a solo piece called Cage Shuffle (text by John Cage, choreography Annie-B Parson), at the American Realness Festival in New York. He has subsequently toured Cage Shuffle throughout the United States and Europe.

In Fall 2020 he created a duet version of Cage Shuffle with Choreographer/Dancer Bebe Miller for the Wexner Center For The Arts. The Cage Shuffle Duet toured to the Cena Festival in Brasilia, Brazil in December of 2020.

Outside of Big Dance, Paul has directed numerous productions including Young Jean Lee’s Obie Award-winning, “We’re Gonna Die.  A version of We’re Gonna Die featuring David Byrne premiered at the Meltdown Festival in London in 2015. Paul also directed Bodycast: An Artist Lecture by Suzanne Bocanegra and featuring Frances McDormand at the BAM Next Wave Festival in 2014 ; He directed Major Bang for The Foundry Theatre at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Paul has performed in the following works by The Wooster Group: Brace Up!, Emperor Jones, North Atlantic, and The Hairy Ape. Other stage acting credits include Tamburlaine at Theatre For A New Audience, Young Jean Lee’s Lear, The Three Sisters at Classic Stage Company, Richard Maxwell’s Cowboys and Indians at Soho Rep, Richard III at Classic Stage Company, Svejk at Theatre for a New Audience, Irene Fornes’ Mud at the Signature Theater and at Mabou Mines, and Mac Wellman’s 1965 UU. He has acted in over 40 feature films, including Snowpiercer, The Host, Mickey Blue Eyes, Silence of the Lambs, Beloved, Lorenzo’s Oil and  Philadelphia. His awards include two Bessies (2010, 2002), the Jacob’s Pillow Creativity Award in 2007, and the Prelude Festival’s Frankie Award in 2014, as well as an Obie Award for Big Dance in 2000. Paul currently teaches at New York University. He has also taught at Yale, Rutgers, The William Esper Studio, and The Michael Howard Studio.

(lead artist)

Elizabeth DeMent is a New York based performer originally from Ukiah, CA. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School, and has been working as a dancer/performer/actor ever since. She has worked with Peridance Ensemble, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Liz Gerring Dance Company, Stephen Petronio, Jodi Melnick, Patrick Corbin, Dance Heginbotham, Christina Masciotti, Half-Straddle, and Big Dance Theater. Elizabeth is proud to have worked extensively as associate choreographer to Annie-b Parson on several projects including Here Lies Love, St. Vincent’s Digital Witness Tour, and David Byrne’s American Utopia Tour. This year, Elizabeth won a Bessie Award for her outstanding performance in Big Dance’s 17c presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 2017.


Molly Hickok is a founding member of Big Dance Theater, creating roles in such works as The Other Here, Comme Toujours Here I Stand, Supernatural Wife and Ich Kurbisgeist. She was honored with a BESSIE in 2005 for her work with Big Dance, and again in 2010 as part of the Comme Toujours creative team. She has appeared in several Jonathan Demme films, including Philadelphia and Rachel Getting Married. 

(executive director)

Sara Pereira da Silva is a Fulbright alumnus with an MA in arts management from American University. She was the recipient of an INOVArt grant and has been involved in dance teaching and Arts Management for more than 13 years with experience in Macau, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Washington, D.C., and New York City. In February 2018, she joined Big Dance Theater as their Executive Director, where she has produced four different productions that toured internationally. Silva is also a member of CIPA (Creative and Independent Producers Alliance).