Parsons Dance will open Park City Institute’s Big Stars, Bright Nights season
Dancer Anderson born and raised in Utah
Zoey Anderson developed her love of dance while growing up in Utah.
“It set me up perfectly to do what I wanted to do and what I wanted to become,” said Anderson, who just celebrated six seasons with the award-winning Parsons Dance company, directed by David Parsons. “The connections with friends, family and nature and the training really started up something that made me want to pursue a professional career in dance.”
A hometown audience will get a chance to see Anderson in action when Parsons Dance opens the Park City Institute’s 2021 Big Stars Bright Nights performance season on Saturday, July 3, at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
All tickets for the original Complexions Dance presentation that was postponed will be honored for the Parsons Dance show. Additionally, patrons can call the box office at 435-655-3114 and make arrangements to hold their tickets for the rescheduled Complexions date, which is expected to be in the Spring of 2022.
The performance is the first for the company since it danced in Dallas, Texas, in November 2020, according to Anderson.
“It’s been a while since then, so this will feel like our first show out of the gate,” she said. “This will be our full-on show.”
Saturday’s production will feature six pieces: “Nascimento;” “Balance of Power;” “Kind of Blue;” duets from “Finding Center;” “Caught;” and “The Road,” according to Anderson.
Anderson herself will dance two solos, “Balance of Power” and “Caught.”
“‘Balance of Power’ is special to my heart, because two weeks before the pandemic hit I was in the studio with David and another fellow dancer, Croix Dilenno, creating this solo from scratch,” Anderson said.
The three worked with percussionist Giancarlo De Trizio, whose instruments included an array of hand drums, cowbells and PVC pipes.
“We got as creative as we could with as many different items that could make sound,” Anderson said. “We would do movement and he would play sound, and he would play sound and we would come up with movement.”
“Caught,” which premiered in 1982, is one of Parsons’ oldest works.
“It’s super exciting, because it uses two strobe lights to give the illusion that the dancer is flying,” Anderson said with a laugh. “And that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
The program opens with “Nascimento,” a 1990 piece that gives off the feeling of the dancers enjoying the beach in Barcelona, and closes with the new work, “The Road,” Anderson said.
“‘The Road’ is done to the music of Cat Stevens, and it’s a piece about positivity,” she said. “It’s full of joy and serves as the great show closer.”
The other two works — “Kind of Blue” and duets from “Finding Center” — highlight the dancer’s intuitions.
“The piece from ‘Finding Center’ is originally done by a group of dancers, but we’re doing it with two, and “Kind of Blue” is a jazzy work that features a lot of improvisation, said Anderson, who was also a dancer on P. Diddy’s 2018 Macy’s Passport Tour.
“David is always encouraging his dancers to push themselves to do things they haven’t done before,” she said.
Doing new things is a way of life for Anderson.
She started her dance career at Center Stage in Orem and trained in all styles of dance, including ballroom, going on to become the Ballroom National Smooth Champion in 2010.
She left Utah shortly thereafter to expand her resume.
“I didn’t just want to dance,” she said. “I wanted to gain a further education in dance. I wanted to see how much I could learn, experience and see and step outside of what I have known.”
Anderson graduated cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College in 2015 with a BFA in Ballet under the direction of Katie Langan, and joined Parsons Dance later that year.
“David Parsons is someone who is constantly wanting to evolve and change and get his company to new and higher places,” she said.
Parsons, a former member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, was inspired by the athleticbut-still-technical style of the late Paul Taylor, Anderson said.
“Like Paul Taylor, David always pushes his dancers to different levels,” she said. “He just doesn’t want us to come in every day and do the work. It’s all about growing every day. We have to be at an Olympic level, because the work is so physical. We’re athletes, and furthering the work of what artistry and dance means. Which means we have to learn how to conserve and maintain energy while performing a piece that is six minutes long, but has more than 100 jumps.”
In 2019, Anderson won the Clive Barnes Award for Dance, an honor that goes to young and upcoming artists.
Past recipients include New York City Ballet Soloist Russell Janzen, New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Indiana Woodword and American Ballet Theatre Soloist Gabe Stone Shayer.
“Winning the Clive Barnes was the most unforgettable, mind-blowing experience for me, and I never knew that would be something I would ever experience,” Anderson said. “Usually the winners are from the ballet world, so I didn’t think there was a chance for a contemporary modern dancer. But when they called my name, it was a big moment for me and for David Parsons to feel celebrated and feel like we are bringing creativity to the dance world.”
Anderson can’t wait to perform at the Eccles Center this weekend.
“It will be here in no time, and the thought of sharing everything I’ve learned in my life up to now back in a performance is exciting to me,” she said. “It’s about sharing the love of the arts and sharing the talents of the company to give the audience a wonderful night.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3
Where: Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd.
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