By BWW News Desk
PS122's Spring Gala 2016 celebrates three contemporary luminaries whose influence ripples across borders and through generations by honoring Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, the visionary team behind Big Dance Theater. In addition, Nicole Birmann Bloom, of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, will receive the Shining Star Award for her unwavering dedication to New York City arts and French-American cultural exchange.
"I've worked with Annie-B, and sometimes Paul, on and off for years," says musician David Bryne. "I especially like their use of vernacular movement, taken from the most diverse sources imaginable-Beyoncé, Okinawan street dancers and Kabuki actors - but without referencing those contexts. There's skill needed to perform their pieces, but it doesn't draw on the same timeworn set of skills common to trained dancers that we've seen a million times. Personally, their approach to choreography helps connect it more to my own life, my own daily movements and to that of my friends' lives and movements-it's more democratic. Everyone can dance!"
PS122's Spring Gala 2016 features remarks by Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme and BAM's Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo. With choreography by Annie-B Parson, David Byrne will perform accompanied by dancers Aaron Mattocks, Elizabeth Dement and Steven Reker. Cynthia Hopkins will perform her original music; and the 2012 critically acclaimed Elephant Room, directed by Paul Lazar ("with an eye for the perverse and a shrewd sense of pacing" - The New York Times), will be specially remounted as Elephant Room Magic Society. Featuring master performers Geoff Sobelle (The Object Lesson), Steve Cuiffo and Trey Lyford, Elephant Room Magic Society is a theatrical event filled with off-the-wall magic and sublime comedy. In its original incarnation, the show was a New York Times Critic's Pick --the performers were praised for "their lovable-loser shtick as well as their nifty skills" that helped turn the show into "one of the coolest in town."
The event will take place on Thursday, April 28th at the iconic Jing Fong (20 Elizabeth Street) in the heart of Chinatown and begin at 7:00 PM with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, and music by Jonathan E. Jacobs aka The Vintage DJ,. Dinner, performances, presentations and a live auction conducted by powerhouse auctioneer Ck Swett will begin around 7:45 PM. The after-party, with DJ Chris Giarmo, will start at 10:30 PM.
Auction highlights include art works by Robert Wilson and Taryn Simon, a private tour of the Whitney Museum, an eight-night luxury stay in Tulum, Mexico at Ahau Tulum and Nomade Tulum, four dining experiences, and an off road eco-adventure, a stay at Cavallo Point in San Francisco that includes a cooking class or spa treatment and a trip to Charleston that includes tickets to the Spoleto Festival, dining experiences and a private tour of a historic home that is not open to the public. Online auction opens April 18th at PS122.org/gala.
Individual tickets, starting at $400, table sponsorships starting at $3,000, and after-party tickets at $50 can be purchased via Lori Vroegindewey at PS122 at 212-477-5829 x 302 [email protected] or online at PS122.ORG/GALA.
The Spring Gala 2016 Committee is chaired by Anne Delaney of the Lambent Foundation and includes Rima Abdul-Malak, Philip Bither, Michael Bloom, Anne Carson, Sammy Chadwick, Kathleen Chopin, Lili Chopra, Alan Cumming, Cathy Edwards, Olga Garay-English and Kerry English, Oskar Eustis and The Public Theater, Gillian Fallon and Ross Mollison, Suzanne Geiss, Jesse Hernreich, Chet Kerr and Heather Thomas, Nunally Kersh, Jon Kinzel, Tommy Kriegsmann and Shanta Thake, Josephine Linden, Aaron Mattocks, Anita Merk, Joseph Melillo, Laura Michalchyshyn, Tom Moore and Lionel Legault, Anson Mount, Russell Piccione, Brian Rogers, Stephanie and David Sack, Eli Scheier, Stella Schnabel, Tanya Selvaratnam, Kambiz Shekdar, Scott Shepherd, Patsy Tarr and 2wice Arts Foundation, Peter Taub, Timothee Verrecchia, and Mac Wellman.
Honoree and Shining Star awards are provided by Swarovski.
About the Honorees
Annie-B Parson (Choreographer and Big Dance Theater Co-Director) 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, and has performed in scores of venues, most recently at Tanz Im August in Berlin.
Outside of Big Dance, Ms. Parson has created choreography for operas, pop stars, television, movies, theater, ballet and symphonies. She choreographed for 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 show with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Jimmy Fallon. Parson currently has a work in rep at The Martha Graham Dance Company and 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, for 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 the string quartet ETHEL. She recently choreographed David Bowie/Ivo Van Hove's new work Lazarus at New York Theatre Workshop.
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.
Paul Lazar (Theater Director and Big Dance Theater Co-Director) is a founding member and 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, andYoung 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.