Big Dance Theater
Space Grant (2000/2001)

Founded by Molly Hickok, Paul Lazar, and Annie-B Parson in 1991, Big Dance Theater is known for its inspired synthesis of dance, music, text, and visual design. The company’s work ranges from pure dance pieces, to dance/theater works with sources from found text, literature, plays, or an alchemy of wildly incongruent source material, weaving and braiding disparate strands of text and theatrical elements into multidimensional performance. Big Dance has delved into the literary work of such authors as Twain, Tanizaki, Euripides and Flaubert, and dance is used as both frame and metaphor to theatricalize these writings. For 32 years, Big Dance Theater has worked to create over 25 large-scale dance/theater works, generating each piece over months and years of collaboration with its associate artists, a long-standing, ever-evolving family of actors, dancers, composers, and designers.

Big Dance Theater has been presented 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 (Chicago), Walker Art Center, Yerba Buena, On the Boards, UCLA Live, Spoleto Festival USA, and Tanz Im August, Berlin. Internationally, the group has performed in France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Brazil, Germany, and the Georgian Republic. Commissions have come from Les Subsistances in Lyon, Chaillot Theater in Paris, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Walker Art Center, Wexner Arts Center, Carolina Performing Arts, American Dance Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, The Kitchen, La MaMa, Onassis Foundation, Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, NCCAkron, Carolina Performing Arts, and the Old Vic/Dance Umbrella, London.

Most recently, the company premiered The Mood Room at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and will tour this work to The Walker in 2024. Other works for BAM include Supernatural Wife, which played at the National Theater in Paris, and Alan Smithee Directed This Play which premiered at Les Subsistances in Lyon, France in 2014. The BDT production, Man in a Case, featured Mikhail Baryshnikov and premiered at Hartford Stage and toured to Berkeley Repertory Theater, Broad Stage in Santa Monica, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Big Dance Theater received two New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards in 2002 and 2010, and the company was awarded an OBIE in 2000. Additionally, BDT company members have received 5 distinct “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. In 2024, Big Dance is co-publishing Dance History(s): Imagination as a Form of Study with Wesleyan Press and Dancing Foxes, co-edited by Thomas F. DeFrantz and Annie-B Parson.