POSTED: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 2:00am
UPDATED: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 2:04am
BATON ROUGE, LA — Sandra Parks, the new head of dance for LSU Theatre, is no stranger to the world of international dance.
This year, her original piece, “Rebuild,” was selected as one of the finalists in the 2013 Taiwan Dance Choreography Competition, hosted by National Dance Association of the Republic of China. This particular choreography competition has been around since 1995 and is sponsored by the National Dance Association in Taiwan.
There were more 120 applicants in this year’s competition and only 30 pieces were chosen to participate in the live competition on Sept. 18. The competition focuses on choreography and includes an invited panel of dance professionals including choreographers, artistic directors and higher education professors that adjudicate each piece. The top eight competitors will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to perform on Oct. 17 in Taipei, with the possibility of a tour of Taiwan.
This past summer, Parks took a group of students from Kennesaw State University, where she was an assistant professor prior to her arrival at LSU, to Taipei to participate in the study abroad program with the National Taiwan University of Arts.
While there, she learned of the competition and in August, submitted a recording of the Kennesaw State University Dance Company performing Rebuilt for their 2013 Gala Concert. Although she has never competed in this competition, Parks comments that she knows many of the winners have progressed in their creative careers to become artistic directors of professional dance companies and well-known international choreographers.
“Rebuild” was inspired by the Deconstructivism movement of the 1980’s, a style of architecture that encouraged freedom of form in design elements. Parks commented that the piece is motivated by the idea that this style of architecture “can be beautiful even when it is not balanced or perfect.” She allowed this idea to create movements that are based on the deconstruction of human bodies and how they can be rebuilt to form different configurations.
LSU Theatre is proud to have Parks as one of its new faculty members to head a growing dance program. Parks is originally from Taiwan and has danced with such companies as Four Season Ballet and Wu-I Dance Company in Taipei and she has toured nationally and internationally with “The King and I.” In the U.S., she has danced with Bosoma Dance Company, Dance Collective and Impulse Dance Company in Boston. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from New York University and an master of fine arts degree from Smith College in Massachusetts. Her choreographies have been seen at such venues as the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall and Manhattan Center in New York, the Strand Theatre, Boston University and Dance Complex in Boston and the 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta.
Before coming to LSU as an assistant professor and the head of the dance program, Parks taught at Boston University, Bridgewater State College, Colleges of Fenway, Smith College, National Taiwan University of Arts and most recently, Kennesaw State University.