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Big Dance Theater


With its inspired use of dance, music, text, and visual design, Big Dance Theater returns to Carolina Performing Arts with Antigonick: a “popup play under construction” of renowned poet and classicist Anne Carson’s one-act, radical-feminist, philosophical take on Sophocles’ Antigone. Using Carson’s text, Annie-B Parson braids disparate strands into a multi-dimensional performance featuring the deft wit and imagination for which Big Dance Theater is known.

Each evening between performances, ticket holders are welcome to a Dionysian Libation with complimentary food and drinks.

Tickets $27

Scroll to learn more about Big Dance Theater, including workshops, artist information, and company history.

Creative Workshop with Big Dance Theater

A Carolina Performing Arts and Durham Independent Dance Artists Collaboration for Triangle Artists

Sunday, January 26 | 2-4 PM
The Studio at CURRENT | 123 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC
Free and open to all artists
Class capped at 25 participants
Please RSVP by January 24:

In this highly collaborative workshop, we will look at a formal approach to creating movement phrases and theatrical events. Each participant will explore the expressive uses of their choreographic/theatrical voice, and gain insight into how postmodern performance-makers create work. We will work with the tools and devices that Big Dance utilizes to generate ideas with the aim of inspiring new ways of thinking about movement, creation and choreographic process whether participants are dance-makers, actors, writers, performers, musicians or dancers.

Participants will be hyper-generative, making movement phrases and theatrical events using rubric driven structures that blend the boundaries of what is generally prescribed as theater and dance. Some of the things we will explore will be:

 – Generating pure movement
– Manipulations of pure movement through exploring compositional elements
– Exploring abstraction in text
– The borrowing of theatrical devices like character and its relationship to physical action
– The use of found text
– Sewing text to movement
– How to build a layered performance

And—join CPA and DIDA for drinks and appetizers following the workshop!

About the cast and crew

Annie-B Parson (Artistic Director) co-founded Big Dance Theater (BDT) in 1991 with Molly Hickok and Paul Lazar. With Big Dance, Parson has created numerous large-scale works for such venues as BAM, The Old Vic/London, Sadler’s Wells/London, The Walker, The National Theater/Paris, Japan Society, and The Kitchen. Parson has also made choreography for rock shows, marching bands, movies, museums, objects, television, augmented- reality, opera, ballet, theater, symphony orchestras, string quartets, and a chorus of 1,000 amateur singers. Her awards include the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2014), an Olivier Award nomination in choreography (2015), Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2014), U.S.A. Artists Grant in Theater (2012), Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography (2007), two New York Dance Performance (Bessie) Awards (2010, 2002), and three New York Foundation for the Arts Choreography Fellowships (2013, 2006 and 2000). Big Dance Theater received an OBIE Award (2000) and the first Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award (2007). Artists she has worked with, include David Byrne, David Bowie, St. Vincent, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Wendy Whelan, Anne Carson, Laurie Anderson, Lucas Hnath, David Lang, Nico Muhly, The Martha Graham Dance Co., and Jonathan Demme. Her work with David Byrne began in 2007 with his tours with Brian Eno, and then St. Vincent, and his musical Here Lies Love. Their most recent work, American Utopia, is currently on Broadway. Parson’s new book Drawing the Surface of Dance: A Biography in Charts came out in October and is published by Wesleyan Press.

Eliza Bent (Ismene) is a performer and playwright. Bent’s entertainments include solo-ish works (Toilet Fire and Aloha, Aloha, or When I Was Queen), plays (Indeed, Friend!, The Hotel Colors), adaptations (The Beyonce), and hybrid affairs (Real Talk / Kip Talk, Blue Wizard / Black Wizard). Bent’s shows have been developed, workshopped, and produced at the Abrons Arts Center, JACK, the New Ohio, the Atlantic Theatre, the Bushwick Starr and New York Theatre Workshop’s Next Door Series. Residencies with SPACE on Ryder Farm, New Georges, Target Margin Institute Fellow, MacDowell Colony Fellow, Casa Zia Lina, and Pilot Balloon. As an actor Bent has performed with Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Rady & Bloom, Knud Adams, Agnes Borinksy, Tara Ahmadinejad, Half Straddle, the Great Plains Theatre Conference and the Actors Theatre of Louisville. Bent has a BA in philosophy and an MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn. Bent is currently a full-time lecturer at Northwestern.

Madeline Best (Lighting Designer) designs lighting and is the Director of Production at The Chocolate Factory Theater. Best graduated from Bennington College, grew up in Durham NC and currently lives in Long Island City, Queens. Recent design projects include work with the artists Paulina Olowska, Andrea Kleine, Anna Azrieli, Ursula Eagly, Heather Kravas, Katie Workum, Aki Sasamoto, Milka Djordjevich, Keely Garfield, Sophia Cleary and Neal Medlyn, Yve Laris Cohen, and others. Thanks to Jon, Davey, and Orson for all your support.

Suzanne Bocanegra (Costume Designer) is a visual artist living and working in New York. In 2019, a major show of Bocanegra’s work titled “Poorly Watched Girls ” was presented at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. Also in 2019, her solo show “Wardrobe Test” was the inaugural exhibition at Artcake, an exhibition space in Brooklyn. Bocanegra’s most recent performance is “Farmhouse/Whorehouse, an Artist Lecture by Suzanne Bocanegra starring Lili Taylor,” which was commissioned in 2017 by the CounterCurrent Festival in Houston and which has traveled to UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance at the Ace Theater, The Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and The Wexner Center for the Arts, among others. She is currently working on a performance co-commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, about the largest Renaissance tapestry owned by the Met, which depicts the concept of honor through 69 historical and mythological characters.

Stacy Dawson Stearns (Kreon) is a Bessie Award-winning artist known for her work with Big Dance Theater, David Neumann, Hal Hartley, Ken Nintzel, and Blacklips Performance Cult. She has performed in 9 countries and in domestic venues including Jacob’s Pillow, American Dance Festival, Spoleto USA, Walker Art Center, The Whitney, The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Classic Stage Company, HERE, City Center, Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop (now NYLA), PS 122, MassMoCA, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, The Performing Garage, Mother, and REDCAT. Stacy has choreographed stage shows for pop icons Debbie Harry and Ann Magnusen, and is currently choreographing the new Qui Ngyuen/Vampire Cowboys play, Revenge Song, at the Geffen Playhouse in LA. Film acting credits include: No Such ThingWigstock: the Movie!, and filmmaker Jonathan Demme’s performance film of Big Dance Theater’s Another Telepathic Thing. She is a proud recipient of the 2019 Pieter Dancemakers Grant.

Elizabeth DeMent (Nick and Teiresias) is a New York-based performer originally from Ukiah, CA. She began her studies there with Mary Knight at the Mendocino Ballet as well as the Marin Ballet. Elizabeth graduated from the Juilliard School under the artistic direction of Benjamin Harkarvy and has worked with the Riverside Ballet Theater, Peridance Ensemble, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Liz Gerring Dance Company, Stephen Petronio, Jodi Melnick, Patrick Corbin, Dance Heginbotham, as well as playwrights Christina Masciotti and Tina Satter/Half-Straddle. She has enjoyed performing live with St.Vincent at the Hollywood Bowl, Governor’s Ball and David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption. Elizabeth currently performs with Big Dance Theater. She has worked as associate choreographer to Annie-b Parson, Susan Stroman, and Liz Gerring. Productions include; Here Lies Love, St. Vincent’s Digital Witness Tour, Love This Giant Tour with David Byrne and St. Vincent, and David Lang’s Lincoln Center performance of Public Domain. She is currently working on David Byrne’s Broadway show, American Utopia as both associate choreographer and stand-by. She has choreographed for and performed with musicians Rodrigo y Gabriela on their most recent album, Mettavolution. Elizabeth was honored with a Bessie Award for her outstanding performance in 17c, presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 2019, Elizabeth became the Director of Big Dance Theater’s Repertory & Creative Workshops. She will be setting work from the Repertory at Sarah Lawrence College and Cal Arts in 2020.

Jeanine Durning (Antigone) is an Alpert Award-winning choreographer and performer from New York whose work has been described by The New Yorker as having both “the potential for philosophical revelation and theatrical disaster.” Jeanine has performed her solo practice, inging, more than 50 times across the US, in Europe and in Canada. In support of her new project Dark Matters, Durning has received residencies at Seoul Dance Center, the Rauschenberg Foundation, DNK in Sofia, Bulgaria, and at MANCC. Jeanine has had the privilege to collaborate with many choreographers over the years including Deborah Hay since 2005, working as a performer, choreographic assistant, and coach. Durning has shared and taught some of her practices all over the world and was recently Guest Lecturer at Smith College. Upcoming projects include performances of inging and Dark Matter in Malmo, creation of a new work commissioned by Candoco/London, and a European tour of Deborah Hay’s new ensemble work Animals on the Beach. 

Anne Gridley (Haimon) is a performer, dramaturg, teacher, and visual artist. As a founding member of Nature Theater of Oklahoma, she has toured nationally and internationally: Poetics: a Ballet Brut; No Dice [Obie: 2008]; Romeo & Juliet [Best Performer 2010, The New Yorker]; Life & Times: Episodes 1-5 [Obie: 2012]. Since 2014, she has performed with: Caborca: Hamlet; The Entitlement [Manhattan Film Festival]; Jerome Bel: The Show Must Go On; Ballet: NY; 7 Daughters of Eve: 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens; and Human Head Performance Group: Due to Events.

Theda Hammel (Chorus) has released three EPs (Very Great, SondHamm, and Partial Magic) under the name “HAMM.” In 2018, she played Marie in Wallace Shawn’s play Marie and Bruce at Jack, Brooklyn. She has a Master’s in Music Technology from NYU Steinhardt. Her original music can be found at

Joanne Howard (Set Designer) has been designing sets for Big Dance Theater since 1992. In addition, to set design, Howard works in a variety of media including sculpture, works on paper, ceramics, and video. She has received a Bessie award for her collaboration with BDT for Comme Toujours Here I Stand and is a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship recipient for Architecture/Environmental Structures. Howard has exhibited in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. A recent installation will be included in Call and Response, an exhibition Wave Hill, The Bronx, in the Fall of 2017.

Ilana Khanin (Associate Director and Stage Manager) is a New York-based stage manager and director. Recent stage management credits include: Miles for Mary (The Mad Ones/Bushwick Starr), Football Head (La MaMa), Some of the Things Inside (Waterwell), The Wolves (Clubbed Thumb workshop), Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb). She has also worked on productions at Samuel French, PTP/NYC, The Tank, New Victory, The Brick, Women’s Project, Drama League, Governors Island, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Dixon Place, New York City Players, and BAM. M.A. Performance Studies, B.F.A Drama: NYU.

Jody McAuliffe (Eurydice) Directing/Adapting: Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist, Abrons Arts, Duke Performances; Mao II, Theater Previews at Duke. Directing: Mark Taper, South Coast Rep, Virginia Stage, North Carolina Shakespeare, Manbites Dog, Burning Coal, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Denver Center, Bay Area Playwrights, Magic Theatre, Sundance, L.A. Theatre Center. Adaptations: The Italian Actress, My Lovely Suicides, Manbites Dog. Dramaturgy: Sibyl Kempson’s Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag, Abrons; David Lang and Sybil Kempson’s True Pearl, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Acting: Isabel, The Body Artist. Publications: The Mythical Bill, A Neurological Memoir; My Lovely Suicides; Crimes of Art and Terror. NEA Directing Fellow, Mark Taper; Directing Workshop for Women, AFI; SDC; Yale School of Drama.

devika wickremesinghe (Messenger) is a dancerperson living in Los Angeles. She has had the pleasure of working with artists including Milka Djordjevich, Kate Fischer, Levi Gonzales, Maria Hassabi, Jennie MaryTai Liu, taisha paggett, Gwyneth Shanks, Alexx Shilling, and Flora Weigmann. devika creates film and live performance as the CEO of the INSTITUT IDGAF

About Big Dance Theater

Founded in 1991, Big Dance Theater is known for its inspired use of dance, music, text and visual design. The company often works with wildly incongruent source material, weaving and braiding disparate strands into multi-dimensional performance. Led by Artistic Director Annie-B Parson, Big Dance has delved into the literary work of such authors as Twain, Tanizaki, Wellman, Euripides, and Flaubert, and dance is used as both frame and metaphor to theatricalize these writings. Recent commissions have been from Les Subsistances in Lyon, the National Chaillot Theater in Paris, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Walker Art Center, Carolina Performing Arts, Deutches Theater, and the Old Vic in London.

For more than 25 years, Big Dance Theater has worked to create over 20 dance/theater works, generating each piece over months of collaboration with its associate artists, a long-standing, ever-evolving group of actors, dancers, composers, and designers. Big Dance Theater received New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards in 2002 and 2010; the company was awarded an OBIE in 2000 and BDT company members have received 5 other “Bessie” Awards and an OBIE award for their work with Big Dance. In 2007, the company received the first-ever Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. Big Dance Theater has been presented around the world including France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Brazil and Germany and in the USA in venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, City Center, The Performing Garage, New York Live Arts, The Chocolate Factory, Classic Stage Company, Japan Society, Under the Radar, American Realness, PS122’s COIL Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Walker Art Center, Yerba Buena, On the Boards, UCLA Live, ICA Boston, American Dance Institute (ADI), Fusebox Festival/Austin, CounterCurrent Festival/Houston, and Spoleto Festival USA.

Additionally, in 2013-2014, the artistic directors and design team were invited to create a commission featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov, and under the Big Dance Theater creative umbrella in partnership with Baryshnikov Productions, Man in a Case toured nationally to Hartford Stage, Shakespeare Theater in D.C., Berkeley Repertory Theater, the Broad Stage in L.A., ArtsEmerson/Boston, and the MCA/Chicago.


Commissioned by Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, MA Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director. Antigonick was presented by Abrons Arts Center with generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation.

Big Dance Theater is supported, in part, by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New York Theater Program; and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Big Dance Theater receives major support from the Starry Night Fund, Anonymous, the W Trust, the Herding Cats Foundation, and the Heimbinder Family Foundation.

Special Thanks

First and foremost, thank you to Paul Lazar. Thanks to Amy Kolling Russell and Emil Kang for inviting us again, to Craig Peterson for his long-time belief in us, Suzanne Bocanegra and David Lang for lending us their home to start this project, Mandy Greenfield at Williamstown Theater Festival, Aaron Mattocks for keeping this alive, Amy Holzapfel at Williams College, Jenny Seastone, Brian Kulick, and Christine Holt, and Anne Carson for allowing us to perform this play.

Big Dance thanks its Board of Directors, Anne Delaney, Craig Peterson, Edward McKeaney, Jay Wegman, and Janet Wong for their continuous support. Thanks to Molly Hickok, without whose artistry and administrative initiatives, Big Dance would not exist.