Annie-B Parson’s Startling Choreography for Once in a Lifetime from David Byrne’s American Utopia on Saturday Night Live

David Byrne: Once in a Lifetime (Live) – NOT on SNL

UPDATE: All the SNL videos got pulled cause $$$ but they could have monetized them with ads and made any more. Guess they don’t want to undermine the movie. In any case, that means BOOTLEGS!!!

My brother texted me about David Byrne’s Saturday Night Live appearance and I thought, yeah, yeah, David Byrne. Wow, was I wrong!

So now I know about David Byrne’s American Utopia with choreography by Annie-B Parson back for a second round on Broadway. Man, I’d love to see this show but I’m so far away and coronavirus is approaching!

How did I get here…in Chattanooga?

This really isn’t my house.

And I have no lovely wife!

David Byrne: Toe Jam (Live) – NOT on SNL

Spike Lee’s making the movie version of American Utopia!

Please forgive all the exclamation points. I somehow so totally missed this news and it’s really got me stirred up.

Annie-B Parson discusses choreographing for so-called “non-dancers,” something I found incredibly satisfying back in the day. I agree with her comments about the honesty possible in working with untrained dancers but this level of work raises questions about making such a distinction.

“I love a non dancer. I feel that the audience relates to them. There’s an honesty about them. I can’t pretend it’s not a huge amount of work for them to get to the point where we have something that we all feel great about and can stand behind. Their training happens the first day that they start working with me. It’s not like anybody in the audience could come up and do what they’re doing. They couldn’t. But having said that, you also see regular bodies moving. And I love that.”

Book cover of Annie-B Parson's Drawing the Surface of Dance

Drawing the Surface of Dance: A Biography in Charts

And Annie-B Parson had a bio out last year from Wesleyan University Press, Drawing the Surface of Dance: A Biography in Charts, which has published so many awesome books on dance including many by important practitioners:

“Soloing on the page, choreographer Annie-B Parson rethinks choreography as dance on paper. Parson draws her dances into new graphic structures calling attention to the visual facts of the materiality of each dance work she has made. These drawings serve as both maps of her pieces in the aftermath of performance, and a consideration of the elements of dance itself.”

Talk about a convergence of heavyweights! Looking forward to the movie and to the book as well.

Related Coverage:
Urban Bush Women, Annie-B Parson, Brian Brooks And Jumatatu Poe Named Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence At Princeton

Clyde F. Smith

DanceLand founder Clyde F. Smith has a PhD in Cultural Studies from OSU and performs improvisational dance in Working Sessions.