Parsons Dance Company tells stories through movement

Photo courtesy of the Parsons Dance Company.

If wonderful works of athleticism and contortion are what you seek, then Parsons Dance Company is the one to see. The contemporary American dance company gave an impressive performance at Florida State University’s Ruby Diamond Concert Hall Saturday evening.

Parsons Dance Company was founded by artistic director David Parsons and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Howell Binkley in 1985.Their chops really showed grand spectacles of choreography as well as captivating uses of lighting to add to the tone of the show.

The Opening Nights’ staff was incredibly helpful throughout the show. They promptly assist you with finding what you’re looking for. After entering the concert hall, legal adults can help themselves to the bar that has many beverage choices. Sip and mingle with other patrons in lobby before the show.

Entering the house, you feel like you’re entering an olden-day opera house. The scenery had a nuanced Lincoln and Boothe style to it.

The show consisted of six dance pieces. A warning was given for the use of strobe lights in one routine. They told stories through movement and energy by manipulating space and lighting.

The dancers were obviously at peak human condition. They were ethnically diverse as well.

The stage was immaculate, with a pitch-black backdrop that accentuated the lighting, and added depth to the stage.

The first piece started the show with flair. The costumes were reminiscent of old Louisianan garb. The music selection for the first routine sounded like a modern James Bond intro song. Much like Bond, the dancers moved swiftly, agile and elegant. It was as if Mozart and Leonardo Da Vinci co-fathered a child that was dance.

In the second piece, the fiercest moves were when the girls jumped backwards wrapping their body around their partner. Each dancer embodied a character and that character’s personality was expressed through movement. These personalities interacted with each other throughout the piece.

The third piece was a dance with just hands. Creative lighting illuminated the hands. This made the hands look like dancing flames at times. They twisted. They clapped. They hi-fived and they snapped. This choreography was designed for special sensory showings. The special sensory showings allow special needs audience such as those with autism to respond and express themselves throughout the show.

The second half of the show included some very colorful Mexican Day of the Dead like costumes that evoked feelings of Mardi Gras cheer. Skeletons never moved so smooth.

My favorite piece was the strobe light piece that showcased why Binkley won his Tony Award for lighting. It should suffice to say that with just strobe lights and timing, this ensemble made a woman levitate.

The show was great and Opening Nights performances are a true treat. Audiences can expect to leave reasonably amazed.