Founded in 1991, Big Dance Theater is known for its inspired use of dance, music, text and visual design. The company often works with wildly incongruent source material, weaving and braiding disparate strands into multi-dimensional performance. Led by co-artistic directors Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, Big Dance has delved into the literary work of such authors as Twain, Tanizaki, Wellman, Euripides and Flaubert, and dance is used as both frame and metaphor to theatricalize these writings.
For over 20 years, Big Dance Theater has worked to create over 20 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. In March of 2014, the company premiered its latest project, Alan Smithee Directed This Play, at Les Subsistances in Lyon, France, ahead of its return to the BAM Harvey Theater in the fall of 2014. Their production Man in a Case, which features Mikhail Baryshnikov, premiered at Hartford Stage and recently toured to Berkeley Repertory Theater, Broad Stage in Santa Monica, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Big Dance Theater received New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards in 2002 and 2010; the company was awarded an OBIE in 2000 and BDT company members have received 5 other “Bessie” Awards and an OBIE award for their work with Big Dance. In 2007 the company received the first-ever Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.
Big Dance Theater has been presented around the world at venues including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, New York Live Arts, The Chocolate Factory, Classic Stage Company, Japan Society, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Walker Art Center, Yerba Buena, On the Boards, UCLA Live, and The Spoleto Festival. Internationally, the group has performed in France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Brazil and Germany. Most recent commissions have been from Les Subsistances in Lyon, Chaillot Theatre National in Paris, The Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Walker Art Center.