what we do
You'll frequently find us in tap shoes, but we're not a tap dance company. Wonderful as they are, we don't need tap shoes to make our music. We also use bare feet, our voices, our hands, pointe shoes, bubble wrap, stilettos, oxfords and anything we can get our minds and bodies around. We're a rhythm-driven, contemporary dance company at the intersection of percussive, classical, modern and social dance forms to which we've added a few that didn't exist before we made them up. Choreographer David Parker has diversified the root impulses of percussive dance embracing a full-bodied, and wide-ranging vision of dance and rhythmic expression that makes room for humor, classicism, drama, and a brawny intellect.
To be official for a moment, we were founded in New York City in 1995 and have toured and performed widely throughout North America and Europe. TBG has been generous supported by The Jerome Robbins Foundation, The Frederick Loewe Foundation, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, The Doris Duke Foundation, and many more. David Parker is a Guggenheim Recipient as well as awards and citations from Art+Action, Dancers Responding To Aids, the Kurt Joss Awards, and the Contemporary Choreographic Awards in The Netherlands. It is presented regularly in New York City by New York Live Arts and its predecessor Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, Dance Now NYC, Symphony Space and The Harkness Dance Festival among many others. The Bang Group has made its second home in Boston through sustained partnerships with Summer Stages Dance (13 seasons), The ICA, and The Dance Complex. The company is also in residence annually at The Yard on Martha's Vineyard, for 16 years produced the Soaking WET festival at The West End Theater on Manhattan's upper west side, and has recently become an Anchor Partner at the new Flea Theater in Manhattan. Beginning in 2015 TBG has supported and presented the work of a wide range of artists through its Dance Now Boston initiative which commissions new work created for cabaret spaces.
We are convinced that rhythm is the dancer's "voice" and that it can precisely evoke the vicissitudes of intimacy through counterpoint, fugue, canon and unison. At the heart of our repertory is a series of duets originally made for -- and sometimes still danced by -- Artistic Directors David Parker and Jeffrey Kazin that chart romantic conflict between 2 men over three decades. These dances take a poetic but gimlet-eyed view of love and noise between partners who slip in and out of sync with each other and draw on all kinds of dance without a thought of movement hierarchy. Rhythm remains the organizing principle.
We take iconic musical scores written for other instruments and dance to them. Well, not actually to them. We conjure them from our very stamps, taps, claps and moves as if we're playing them ourselves--which we are. No instruments necessary, we play them by dancing. We've even commissioned composers to write music directly for our bodies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XteRMjV2soE&t=5s). Surprisingly dramatic encounters are kindled by the collision between narrative, rhythm and humor which explosion we deem "Rhythm Theater." (https://vimeo.com/664399076)
The Bang Group is best known and loved for Parker's vivid, funny and loving re-imagining of The Nutcracker entitled Nut/Cracked which is a comic/subversive, neo-vaudevillian now celebrating its 20th Season. ("You never know what will happen next, but when it's over you find a passionate declaration of naivete in the best sense: innocence regained." — Alastair Macaulay, New York Times "Not only immensely entertaining but also intensely musical and witty, melding tap, disco, ballet and contemporary dance over 22 scenes that combine fantasy and silliness to marvelous effect." — Roslyn Sulcas, New York Times)