ANNIE-B PARSON (choreographer and director)
Annie-B Parson co-founded Big Dance Theater in 1991. 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 Les Subsistances in Lyon, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The National Theater of Paris/Chaillot, The Japan Society, The Walker Art Center, and many others.
Outside of Big Dance, Ms. Parson has created choreography for operas, pop stars, television, movies, theater, ballet and symphonies. Most recently, Parson choreographed one thousand singers for a work by David Lang at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and will conduct a choreographic workshop with Ballet Rambert in London later this fall. 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; and for Byrne’s 2008 Brian Eno world tour. She also created the choreography for St. Vincent’s 2014 world tour, as well as her performances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Parson currently has a work in repertory at The Martha Graham Dance Company, and has 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 the recent Meryl Streep/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, Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, Futurity at ART, as well as a work for the string quartet ETHEL. She choreographed David Bowie/Ivo Van Hove’s new work Lazarus at New York Theatre Workshop, which will premiere in London in the fall of 2016 at the King’s Cross Theatre. Annie-B also choreographed American Utopia by David Byrne and the solo iteration of St. Vincent’s Masseduction tour.
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). BDT received an OBIE (2000) and the first Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award (2007). 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.
Since 1993 Parson has been an instructor of choreography at New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing. 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. Her recent book, Dance by Letter, is published by 53rd State Press.
Paul Lazar is a founding member and former co-artistic director, along with Annie-B Parson, of Big Dance Theater. He has 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. Outside of Big Dance, Paul directed Christina Masciotti’s Social Security at the Bushwick Starr in 2015, Elephant Room at St. Ann’s Warehouse for the company Rainpan 43 in 2012, and Young Jean Lee’s Obie Award winning, We’re Gonna Die in 2011. He directed a new version of We’re Gonna Die in 2015, featuring David Byrne, at the Meltdown Festival in London. He also directed Bodycast: An Artist Lecture by Suzanne Bocanegra starring Frances McDormand for the 2014 BAM Next Wave Festival; and Major Bang for The Foundry Theatre at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Paul is an Associate Member of The Wooster Group, acting in 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 Mac Wellman’s 1965 UU. He has acted in over 30 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 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.
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 (co-founder)
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.