Founded in 1991, Big Dance Theater is known for its inspired use of dance, music, text and visual design to expand and refract literary texts, weaving disparate sources and forms into seamless theatrical wholes. Under the Co-Artistic Direction of Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, Big Dance Theater has created 15 dance/theater works, generating each piece over months of collaboration with its associate artists, a long-standing, ever-evolving group of actors, dancers, composers and designers. Big Dance Theater is an artistic leader in New York City’s performance community, with a loyal—and growing—following. In 2000, the company was awarded an OBIE for its “passionate practice of the most implausible choreographic and literary concoctions,” and in 2002 Co-Directors Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson were honored with a BESSIE for their “boldly arranged marriage of dance and theater.” Big Dance also received the first Creativity Award from Jacobs Pillow in 2007 and a 2010 Bessie for Comme Toujours Here I Stand.
During their Process Space residency, Big Dance Theater will develop its new production, Ich, Kürbisgeist (2012), written by Sibyl Kempson, a theatrical piece of writing but not a play in the usual sense. The language itself manifests the harsh landscape of a world facing destruction, populated by five crude people speaking a rigorous, specific, invented language. The characters are grounded in fear, absurd and doomed. They harvest pumpkin seeds; they sing; they dance; they reminisce. Their outrageous costumes, created by visual artist Suzanne Bocanegra, place us in an unspecified medieval European locale. Ich, Kürbisgeist, strangely comic, full of rawness, fragmentation, confusion, and superstition, is in the end a contemplation of language itself.
Image credit: courtesy of the artist