Bill T. Jones

Dancers in society continue to blossom in today’s society with new talent breaching the world of dance every day. People’s abilities become discovered and pass on their passion amongst those who are willing to learn. A person who has gone by this statement is Bill T. Jones, an artistic director that shares a diverse coverage in being a choreographer, dancer, theatre director and writer. The American prodigy was born in the state of Bunnell, Florida. Though his place of home had been moved to the North to Wayland, New York, as a part of the Great Migration in the first half of the twentieth century.

It was from this point on that he was offered the chance and fame to be who he is today by studying in the ‘Big Apple’ and attending Wayland High School. In growing and progressing his academic studies he had moved on to the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he had begun his dance training, studying in the areas of classical ballet and modern dance. Bill T. Jones, in the year of 1973, later on stumbled upon the opportunity of being the co-founder of the American Dance Asylum. He had worked as a worldwide choreographer, developing his own ambition and portraying his ideas into art.

Though Jones had shared his passion performing worldwide as a soloist and duet company with his late partner Arnie Zane who suffered a death from AIDS-related lymphoma on 30th March 1988. Later on as the his skills had progressed, Jones and Zane both desired to establish their own dance company named Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (Later on to be named Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company) with a mission statement to nurture the art of dance, educating the public and promoting its position in the field of arts in collaboration with music, theatre, media, visual arts, etc. and the communities in which they work .

Not only would he perform for himself though, Jones has worked as a choreographer for many other dance companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, AXIS Dance Company, Boston Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Berlin Opera Ballet and Diversions Dance Company. From these list of companies Jones has worked for, it is fair to say that his skills are phenomenally recognized. However it is not just all the work of choreographing a piece of work for a company, but also dancing collaboratively alongside Toni Morrison and Max Roach, Degga, at Alice Tully Hall commissioned by Lincoln Center’s ‘Serious Fun’ Festival and also performing in ‘How! Do! We! Do! ’ with Jessye Norman, which was premiered at New York’s City Centre in 1999.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company has produced more than 140 work for his own company which is why it is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the modern dance world, having performing worldwide in over 200 cities in 30 countries on every major continent. The work produced by Jones and Zane over the past three years are: * 100 Migrations (2008) * Serenade/The Proposition (2008) * Fondly Do We Hope, Fervently Do we Pray (2009) * Another Evening: Venice/Arsenale (2010) * Between Us (2010)

* Body Against Body (2011) ‘Another Evening: Venice/Aresenale’ was created especially for the monumental Teatro alle Tese at the Venice Danice Biennal which would explain for the nature of the title. The exclusive production is a work that recombines movement fragments for them Company’s past work and meshing it with newly developed ideas and inspirations to create an extraordinary site specific piece. The dance draws the viewers’ attention to the simplistic complexity movements that invites them following along the journey of the dance company as they move about throughout the four rooms of Teatro alle Tese.

The dance contains a strong sense of energy in maneuvering the body around representing this weighted feel along performing collaboratively with other dancers on the stage in using their body as an object for pull and resistance. ‘Between Us’ steps back into a time of classic works collected its roots in what is presented before the audience. It is a work that is to be considered rare in its idea of originality which looks from the company’s repertory created over a decade-long span beginning in the late ‘80s.

The theme presented in the piece is focusing on is the bond between two people and the relations they share displayed through simple duet dances that give an insight to what it is all about. The dance conveys the perfect example as to what is expected from the company. The viewer is given the ability to examine the core style of Jones/Zane through the bodies of the dancers with individual personalities, body types and backgrounds. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company grasp the beauty of an emotionally and intellectually

engaging dance which makes this piece one not to miss with its cleverly formed sounds of audio, abstract movements, amazing partnering and arrangements of gesture and shape influenced by film and photography. ‘Body Against Body’ is a piece to be considered the gateway into looking into the artistic directors lives at how they came about establishing themselves as an individual and what the company is all about. It traces their roots to the integration of various styles, sensibilities, and racial/ethnic origins that define who they are as dancers and the journey they have gone through that has led to the celebrated partnership.

It recaptures the various dances that Jones and Zane had gone through during the ‘80s and explains through movements, what defines dance in contemporary society. It challenges the physical aspects of dance through its conceptual performance revealing a story through task-based movement and non-narrative structure that ventures into the challenges; people face in the midst of succession. The dances produced by Bill. T Jones have been constructed around his imagination to create the concepts in which he does.

The matter of financial needs does not play as much of a role on the amount he produces as there was listed, works of over 140. Yet of course, the aid of money would increase the benefits in having more of a variety in usage of equipment such as props and stage design. As Bill. T Jones owns his own dance company, his funding received is larger than usual, as not only do they receive their funding from public organizations, though there are contributions made by various individuals through the petition set out on the website asking for donations towards the company.

The succession of this has been great, with the contributors names listed on the website with the sub categories of amounts. As the company was established in New York, this has not limited their expansion as they cater to cities all around the world with their performances which works well with their mission statement which is to nurture dance, by keeping a steady production of performances. Bill T. Jones had always had a strong interest in dance and has shared it with the world through his performances.

Through his choreography, there were always dances produced by him that contained strong themes to which a lot can be related towards society. In doing this, the work appeals more to the viewer as it is a dance created with intent rather than a dance just for entertainment. The audience is more likely to be engaged in being able to analyse how the choreography relates to a certain theme as every dance is different in the way they wish to be portrayed. Bill T.

Jones as an artistic director, choreographer, dancer, theatre director and writer, has a diverse knowledge and potential capability to produce the most beautiful pieces as work as all his occupations cover the different fields of dance and when combined together, makes a powerful person. The variety of works in his production line has covered many aspects and topics of the world which in turn extends his audiences knowledge and view on the world of dance.