Drawing the Surface of Dance: A Biography in Charts

by Annie-B Parson

Soloing on the page, choreographer Annie-B Parson rethinks choreography as dance on paper. Parson draws her dances into new graphic structures calling attention to the visual facts of the materiality of each dance work she has made. These drawings serve as both maps of her pieces in the aftermath of performance, and a consideration of the elements of dance itself. Divided into three chapters, the book opens with diagrams of the objects in each of her pieces grouped into chart-structures. These charts reconsider her dances both from the perspective of the resonance of things, and for their abstract compositional properties. In chapter two, Parson delves into the choreographic mind, charting such ideas as an equality in the perception of objects and movement, and the poetics of a kinetic grammar. Charts of erasure, layering and language serve as dynamic and prismatic tools for dance making. Lastly, there is a chapter of photographs of Big Dance Theater from 1991-2019. As an addendum, nodding to the history of chance operations in dance, Parson creates a generative card game of 52 compositional elements for artists of any medium to cut out and play as a method for creating new material. Within the duality of form and content, this book explores the meanings that form itself holds, and Parson’s visual maps of choreographic ideas inspire new thinking around the shared elements underneath all art-making.



“I’m a long time fan of Annie-B’s work. I see in it the quotidian made extraordinary… the familiar made foreign. This book doesn’t tell you what that work looks and feels like—you sort of have to be there—but what it does is allow us inside a very creative person’s head, which is like entering an alternative universe. The rules, the grammar, the connections are all new and surprising. Use this as an inspirational handbook.” —David Byrne

Photos © Blaine Davis

Big Dance Theater Photo Book

by Mike Van Sleen

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Dance by Letter

by Annie-B Parson
edited by Karinne Keithley Syers

Choreographer Annie-B Parson uses the form of the alphabet book to “speak a word for the uncanny act of dance-making.” Composed with the same virtuosic economy and exactitude as her dances, her abecedary is simultaneously primer, theory, riddle and prompt.



Another Telepathic Thing

by Big Dance Theater
edited by Karinne Keithley Syers

An expanded documentation — combining oral history, drawings, video stills and an annotated script — of Big Dance Theater’s Another Telepathic Thing (2000), which combined Mark Twain’s novella The Mysterious Stranger, illicitly recorded audition tapes, several parasols, and many other ingenious things.


Ich, KürbisGeist and The Secret Death of Puppets

by Sibyl Kempson
illustrated by Amanda Villalobos

Published in conjunction with Big Dance Theater’s staging of Ich, KürbisGeist at the Chocolate Factory Theater in New York City, this is a special volume illustrated and designed by Amanda Villalobos of two of Sibyl Kempson’s forays into the damp, weird soil of ghosts, curses, and the roots and cousins of American language. ICH, KÜRBISGEIST, an agricultural vengeance play for Hallowe’en, is written in a variant of Amer-English so oolde and wheeurd that you need to train your tongue and ear to read it. The three paranormal playlets of THE SECRET DEATH OF PUPPETS are composed in “Fraunch”, English, and some kind of Nordic-Latin homonculus language of the undead. You’ll want to read this to your children.