Known to both our readers in the US and Australia, Adam Parson is a well travelled dance instructor, choreographer and performer. Born in Nairobi, Kenya and now residing in LA, Adam is the founder and artistic director of Commonality Dance Company, which has toured the United States, Mexico, South Korea, and Europe. Adam’s commercial credits include Pepsi, Prince, Monica, Shell Oil and 3rd Rock from the Sun and he has even toured the world as a Power Ranger!
Here Adam shares some of that power with us…
Why did you start dancing?
I started dancing at 26 years old! At the time, I was a systems analyst and book keeper for a computer firm in Washington D.C. My sister asked me to take her friend to dance class as his mum couldn’t. I took them to the studio, heard the music, stepped inside and saw all these people jumping, turning and dropping to the floor in this uniformed movement. I was instantly hooked! I went straight up to the teacher and told her I wanted to do what everyone else was doing. She said, “If you’re serious, you’ll have to start by training and dancing with the juniors.” I did it, much to the dismay of the little dancers, but it all worked out. Actually, one of those juniors grew up and is currently on tour with Usher. We still laugh about those early days!
What teachers inspired you to dance?
My teacher Terry Peyton and my ballet teacher Elan are why I’m where I am today. Terry shaped my hunger for strength and my fire for dance. She made my focus razor sharp and it’s still there. She turned the light on and then smashed the switch, leaving me always on! Elan gave me the drive and discipline to want to have my body be a precise machine. My first ballet class with her, I IMMEDIATELY felt the difference in my body and was obsessed with the fact that this drive, discipline, and sensation could create a useable foundation that still lasts to this day.
How important is training?
Unfortunately, it seems that young movers today don’t understand that once you stop training, you stop dancing. Movers are people who can move, copy the steps and throw a lot of energy into it. It’s easy to copy someone but it’s the training, time invested and knowledge of your art form that make you a dancer. Those of us who are just dancing for work have lost the art of dance itself. Some of the most successful dancers I know still take class in all forms (ballet, jazz, jazz funk, hip hop, tap, etc) because they know that if they stay sharp, they will always stay relevant. They stay on top of their own body’s game, which is why they keep working.
What’s so great about dance today?
The great thing about dance today is that it’s really mainstream with the help of all the dance shows on TV. The non dance community is starting to gain an awareness of the work that we do and are even starting to participate by taking classes themselves. I can only see this as a win-win for all of us. It’s not only dancers that are working more, but choreographers are in demand for work, which keeps my manager Jim Keith of Movement Management very busy!
This year Adam will be teaching across the US, in Europe, New Zealand and Mexico City, as well in Sydney for Global Dance Convention, April 15-17. www.globaldance.com.au