Andrea Parson brings 'Little Women' to the dance stage
Adapting the story from a movie about maturing sisters in the 1800s onto a stage for contemporary dancers wasn't an easy job for choreographer Andrea Parson.
But, it was well worth it. "Little Women" deserved a dance performance.
"When I saw the movie in 2019, I was captivated by so many images in the film," said Parson, an esteemed dancer, having won the 2010 Princess Grace Award while performing with NW Dance Project.
"I work a lot with images when I create, I like to take images and tell a story from there or sequence images together to tell a story. When I saw the film, the images had strong emotional weight to them, and I automatically thought, 'This could be a dance,' and I went from there."
Parson's "Little Women" will be part of NW Dance Project's "Summer Premieres," 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 10-11, at Lincoln Performance Hall.
Works by Japanese choreographer Yoshito Sakuraba and NW Dance Project Artistic Director Sarah Slipper also will be featured.
In "Little Women," Parson was particularly drawn to the character Jo — one of four March sisters in the story about passage from childhood to womanhood— and her stepping out to become a writer and making a name for herself. (It's a story loosely based on author Louisa May Alcott and her three sisters.)
"She has this push against resistance to be what she wants to be, and not a traditional wife and mother, of that time," Parson said. "That fight and spirit, I thought it could be portrayed well through movement."
She added: "Despite tragedy, 'Little Women' is a joyful story, and it speaks to the resilience one can find through imagination and creation."
Just to be on stage, making dance or performing, has been welcome for members of the dance community, after two years of uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parson has kept busy teaching, including at Pacific University, Sultanov Russian Ballet Academy, BodyVox Dance Center and NW Dance Project.
She became a full-time resident at Flock Dance Center, and also works as an artist-in-residence for From the Ground Up, and has a show set for June 17-18 in a private space outside Ramona Street Art Farm.
A veteran dancer, she performed with BodyVox in the spring.
Parson was the first of four NW Dance Project dancers to earn the prestigious Princess Grace Award. She still enjoys performing, but choreography has been much of her focus.
"I still consider myself a mover. I love to move and perform for specific projects," she said. "But, I love getting to be the head of the creative process. I feel myself leaning in that direction.
As far as "Little Women," she added: "This one is different because there was more work, and I had a lot more time to create. In other (NW Dance Project shows), I had to share creation time with five or six people; this time it's only three choreographers. I had four weeks alone with the company (dancers). It was nice; there was a lot of time for process and workshopping.
"You can't do it without the dancers. They are incredibly generous. They brought ideas and movement, and they also generated a lot and they were receptive. There was a marriage between me and what they brought."
For tickets and more, see http://www.nwdanceproject.org/performances.
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