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Arts & Life

Kansas City Native David Parsons Leads New Dance Workshop

Under the watchful eye of Kansas City native David Parsons, 10 young dance students worked on perfecting dance steps from two very different Parsons works -- Nascimento and Whirlaway -- this week at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity. Parsons teamed up with Kansas City Ballet to bring his intense workshop to Kansas City after touring the facility with his father last year.

“I thought, 'Why don’t we just fly everybody to Kansas City and do it in the heartland?'” says Parsons. “So we are starting out with a small intensive here, just for a week, and seeing how people like it.”

Parsons has a long history of collaboration with the ballet dating back to 1988, when it staged Parsons’ Brothers, performed by guest artists Rudolf Nureyev and Charles Jude. And in 1995, Kansas City Ballet performed his Three Courtesies.

Parsons Company dancers Sarah Braverman and Christina Ilisije lead the workshop, demonstrating each phase of the work and helping students master the repertoire.

“Most of the dancers here have seen the Parsons’ Company,” Parson says. “They want to be able to taste what we do. And a lot of it is extreme physicality. I think they want to feel what it’s like to push their bodies to the limit and that’s what we do. It’s very difficult repertoire.”

That repertoire involves "a lot of speed — very fast movement," he says. "It has a lot to do with light and a lot to do with photography. That is what we want to convey to these young dancers. The idea that you know where you are in any split second.”

Parsons says the revitalization of the arts in Kansas City is one reason he wanted to bring his workshop to the area. “One of the things that people in Kansas City realize is that the arts are a major part in keeping a city vibrant. We know the power of the arts and to see this happen in Kansas City is like a dream come true. And it is a reality. It is not happening. It’s happened. It warms my heart to see it.”

In June 2015, Parsons Dance will return to Kansas City for its twelfth appearance with Harriman-Jewell Series Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Parsons Dance in association with Kansas City Ballet presents a five day summer intensive workshop at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity, August 4-8, 2015.

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