If you like your contemporary dance to be full of abstraction and metaphor, The Parsons Dance Company
is unlikely to move you greatly. However, if you believe that dance should be about
something, then you'll appreciate the group's work and its leader's choreography. David Parsons spent nearly 10 years with the Paul Taylor Company before forming his own group in 1987. The seven dances here are each inspired by a very specific idea such as social interaction, male companionship, or judgmental behavior.
"Reflections of Four" is both the most interesting and, in some ways, the most irritating piece. Taking as its theme "the strength of women," it's a tour de force for the troupe's female members while also being patronizing to the point of sexism--no doubt there's a reason for the dance being staged in four inches of water other than for the girlies to get their leotards wet, but you can almost hear Barry White grunting "Feel mah lurve." Elsewhere, it's a woman who gets her top pulled off during "Scrutiny" for no obvious reason, while David Hasselhoff-lookalike Parsons reserves the clinical appraisal alluded to in the title for his female dancers. These odd peculiarities aside, this is a successful and very approachable collection. --Roger Thomas