Parsons lives up to stellar reputation

Applause and cheers filled Wadsworth Auditorium last Saturday night as Parsons Dance Company delivered its highly anticipated performance as part of this year's Limelight & Accents Performing Arts Series.

According to the event program, David Parsons, who "has created more than 70 works for Parsons Dance [and] has received commissions over the years from The American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet [and others]," founded the dance troupe.

New Limelight & Accents coordinators, junior Kellie O'Keefe and senior Kian Bichoupan, took the stage first to welcome the audience and open the show.

Parsons is "a renowned contemporary dance group … expressing themselves through dance and motion," O'Keefe said.

The show began with a dance routine choreographed to the music of Mozart entitled "Wolfgang." The dancers entered the stage in costumes reminiscent of 18th century fashion, contributing to the common mood of the piece. The dance style mixed ballet with modern, with the style of the choreography changing from lively and spirited to slow and controlled as the Mozart piece progressed through its movements.

A number called "The Hand Dance" followed. The concept of this second performance was very experimental, yet successfully amused the audience. Instead of a traditionally choreographed dance, several of the performers entered the darkened stage dressed completely in black and thrust their hands out into the spotlight. They then proceeded to move their hands in intricate patterns, making shapes to imitate the fiddles featured in the accompanying music.

The middle of the show threatened to grow dull with the number "Scrutiny," which featured dancers dressed in black performing to the sounds of synthesizers, chimes and chanting. Though the movements were interesting and the dancing was skillfully executed, the length of the number combined with its unusual music threatened to lose the audience's attention.

After "Scrutiny," Parsons not only brought the show back up to speed, but managed to outdo themselves with the segment entitled "Caught."

"Caught" featured lone dancer Zac Hammer, who began to leap and spin to music as a strobe light flickered on and off. The light provided the visual effect of making each of his moves look like mid-air snapshots to viewers.

Applause transformed to cheers and whistles as the lights sped up, creating the illusion that the dancer was walking on air, flying and even levitating in place as he jumped at just the right times for the lights to always catch him in the air.

Parsons was an excellent group to kick off the 2009-2010 Limelight & Accents series. Despite lagging a bit in the middle of the show, the dance troupe more than made up for any flaws with its impressive final acts.

More information about Limelight & Accents and tickets to upcoming events can be found at