David Parker began his career as a teenager tap dancing on the sidewalks of Boston. While attending Bard College he was introduced to modern, post-modern and classical forms and started putting them all together. He is doing so still. He has pursued an unusually diverse performance career which includes “downtown” dance, traditional modern, classical character roles, rhythm tap, experimental tap and singing and acting. At the heart of his work is a love of rhythmic form and the humor that flows from it. His work has been commended by The New York Dance and Peformance (“Bessie”) Awards in 2002 for his collaboration with Dutch fashion designers Melanie Rozema and Jeroen Teunissen, he was a Finalist at the International Choreographic Competition in Groningen, The Netherlands in 1994, received a special citation from the Kurt Jooss Awards jury led by Pina Bausch for Bang and Suck (the work for which his company is named,) a citation from the jury of the Nijinsky Awards in Monaco as an emerging choreographer of note in 2003, a MOVE Award from Dance Theater Workshop in 2010, an Art+Action Award from the Gina Gibney Dance Center in 2011, and a prize for his philanthropic work on behalf of Dancers Responding to AIDS in 2005.
Parker has made over 25 commissioned works for companies large and small, university groups and festivals throughout the United Stages and Europe. Highlights include a ballet for the 44 dancers of the Arena di Verona Ballet, 2 works for Groundworks Dance Theater in Cleveland, 2 for Summer Stages Dance Festival in Concord, MA, 2 for Barnard College’s partnership with Dance Theater Workshop and New York Live Arts, 1 for The Anna Sokolow Players Project, Pittsburgh Dance Alloy Theater, The Juilliard Class of 2010 for the New Dances series, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Alfred College, Northwestern University, and Connecticut College. He has also been commissioned by both the American Dance Festival and The Yard in Martha’s Vineyard as well as numerous times by Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project and DanceNow/NYC.
Parker currently serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Princeton University, Barnard College and The Alvin Ailey School. He teaches dance composition at all four. He also, together with Risa Steinberg serves as a mentor to the senior class choreographers chosen for Juilliard’s Senior Production. He is a regular mentor for choreographers at Green Street Studio in Cambridge and for the choreographic fellows at Summer Stages Dance Festival. He has been a member of the Bessie Awards committee and regularly serves on curatorial and granting panels. He sits on the boards of Danspace Project and Green Street Studio and served on the board of The Field for many years. He is a regular contributor to Dance Magazine and has recently written for The Brooklyn Rail as well. He is a regular adjudicator at the American College Dance Festival and was one of the artist-curators for Danspace Project’s visionary Platform Series programming four weeks of events under the rubric Rhythm and Humor. In the last decade Parker has found a new career as a guest artist performing with Sara Rudner (Dancing on View at the ICA), Christopher Williams (The Golden Legend), Doug Elkins (five seasons as Liesl in Fraulein Maria), The New York Theater Ballet (Cinderella), Nicholas Leichter (The Whiz), Larry Goldhuber (Seven Deadly Sins), and in work by Sara Hook, Kay Cummings, Lorraine Chapman, Fiona Marcotty Dolenga and Catherine Tharin.
Parker’s company, The Bang Group, directed by David Parker and Jeffrey Kazin, is best known for its comic/subversive, neo-vaudevillian Nutcracker entitled Nut/Cracked as well as ShowDown, a choreographic refraction of Annie Get Your Gun, Misters and Sisters, a romantic reverie in song and dance for cabaret stages and for a series of male duets ranging from the Velcro-clad Slapstuck to Bang and Suck, Friends of Dorothy and Old Fashioned Wedding. These dances, which chart male intimacy with precision and affection, were created for David Parker and Jeffrey Kazin and remain in active repertory.
TBG has been presented in New York City eight times by Dance Theater Workshop, now New York Live Arts, twice by Danspace Project, twice by Symphony Space, numerous times by DanceNow/NYC at Joe's Pub, and at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Arts and Events at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden, The Joyce Soho, Harkness Dance Center at the 92nd Street Y, Town Hall and many others. TBG has been the first-and-only dance company in residence at the West End Theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side where Parker and Kazin present triennial choreographic mini-festivals. TBG makes its New York Live Arts debut in December with the third annual encore of Nut/Cracked which is in its ninth season of touring having enjoyed nearly 200 performances to date.
The Bang Group has appeared in many European festivals including The Holland Dance Festival (The Hague), International Biennale de Charleroi Danses (Belgium), Konfrontace Festival (Prague), Tanzsprache (Vienna), Dance Week (Zagreb), Divadelna Nitra (Slovakia), Belluard Bollwerk (Switzerland), Nervi Estate (Italy), Ballett Umbria (Italy), Invito Alla Danza (Rome), Tanzmesse NRW (Germany), Dutch Touch (Paris), OT301 (Amsterdam), Monaco Danse Forum, Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2005 and 2009), and others. TBG has also appeared regularly in Montreal at Tangente, Studio 303, Divers Cite and CINARS as well as in 24 of the United States.
The company has developed a second home in the Boston area where it has appeared for the last 12 seasons at Summer Stages Dance Festival in Concord, MA. It has also enjoyed regular seasons in Boston at The Theater Offensive's Out on the Edge Festival (2006-2008), First Night (2003,2005,2008) and, most recently, at Boston's Institute for Contemporary Art. The company has consistently appeared on best-of-the-year lists in Boston as well as in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Antwerp, London and Montreal. It has been generously supported by The Jerome Robbins Foundation, The Frederick Loewe Foundation, The Hale Matthews Foundation, 2wice Foundation, Netherland-America Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts (Build Grant), New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Pentacle's ARC (Advancement, Reinvention and Creativity) Program, Mid-Atlantic Arts Fund, Arts International, Fund for Mutual Understanding, Amy Sue Rosen and Derek Bernstein Foundation and from several private donors.