David Parsons

Photo by: Lois Greenfield

Artistic Director/Founder

Artistic Director DAVID PARSONS founded Parsons Dance in 1985 with lighting designer Howell Binkley.  Since then, he has created more than 70 works for the company, through commissions from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, the American Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, the Spoleto Festival, and Het Muziektheater in  Amsterdam, among others.  His works have also been performed by Batsheva Dance Company of Israel, English National Ballet, Feld Ballets/NY, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Nederlands Dans Theatre, and Paris Opera Ballet, among many others.  He choreographed and directed the dance elements for Times Square 2000, the 24-hour festivities in Times Square celebrating the turn of the Millennium.

Mr. Parsons enjoys a remarkable career as a choreographer, teacher, director, and producer of dance.  He has toured and taught with his company on five continents.  In September 2007, he directed and choreographed Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of María de Buenos Aires, which made its world premiere at a sold-out engagement at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Arts in New York City.  In the July 27, 2007 issue of The New York Times, Jennifer Dunning called him “one of the great movers of modern dance.”  In June 2007, Mr. Parsons was the first contemporary choreographer to stage work at the centuries-old Arena di Verona, where he choreographed Verdi’s Aida.  He is a recipient of the 2000 Dance Magazine Award, the 2001 American Choreography Award and the 2011 Dance Masters of America Award. From 1978-1987, Mr. Parsons was a leading dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, where Mr. Taylor created many roles for him in works such as Arden Court, Last Look, and Roses.  He has appeared as a guest artist with the Berlin Opera, MOMIX, the New York City Ballet, and the White Oak Dance Project.  As a director and choreographer, he has collaborated with such artists as John Corrigliano; Earth, Wind and Fire; East Village Opera Company; Morton Gould; Donna Karan; Alex Katz; William Ivy Long; Santo Loquasto; Dave Matthews; Milton Nascimento; Robert Rauschenberg; Steely Dan; and Billy Taylor.  Film:  Fool’s Fire, directed by Julie Taymor; American Playhouse; and Rita Blitt’s documentary Caught in Paint.  Television:  Bravo broadcast of Aeros; PBS production of Remember Me, a world premiere production by Parsons Dance and the East Village Opera Company; Parsons Dance repertory production in Denmark; the hit Italian reality television show “Amici;” PBS production of Billy Taylor music with Parsons Dance’ and RAI television dance celebration of Pisa, Italy.  Commercial work:  Audi, Mercedes, Chevrolet, Alfa Romeo, Lion pajamas, and Flair magazine.  Fashion:  Missoni, Trusardi, Ermenegildo Zegna, Roberto Cavalli.

Born near Chicago and raised in Kansas City, Mr. Parsons received an MFA from Jacksonville University as the first Howard Gilman Fellow and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Kansas City.  Mr. Parsons has cultivated educational partnerships with Marymount Manhattan College, Broadway Dance Center and Manhattan Movement and Arts Center.  Education outreach, workshops, lecture and demonstration events, and Master Class venues include Juilliard, Columbia Business School and UCLA.