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, 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.
"After a dance is gone, what traces are left? For Annie-B Parson, her drawings, charts, and observations of motifs provide a rich afterlife. She has created hundreds of these two-dimensional forms that challenge the ephemerality of dance. They depict the most tangible part of her dances: the objects that float in and out of her enigmatic collaborations with playwright/director Paul Lazar. They are clues to Parson's fertile imagination. Gathered into Darwinian sets of sub-species, they take on an incantatory power."—Wendy Perron, author of Through the Eyes of a Dancer
Annie-B Parson is a choreographer and artistic director of Big Dance Theater. Parson has also made choreography for rock shows, marching bands, symphonies, movies, museums, objects, augmented reality, and people: David Byrne, David Bowie, St. Vincent, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Wendy Whelan, Laurie Anderson, Nico Muhly, Jonathan Demme, and the Martha Graham Dance Co. SIOBHAN BURKE writes on dance for the New York Times and other publications. She teaches at Barnard College.
Jess Barbagallo is a theater practitioner, arts critic and teacher. Most recently appearing on Broadway in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jess has been acting professionally for almost fifteen years in New York City. He has worked with experimental theatre companies including Half Straddle (founding member), Big Dance Theater, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, and The Builders Association. Currently, he is directing his original play Beaches in Winter, to appear at the Experimental Theatre Wing at New York University this December.