Bill T. Jones to deliver 2012 Toni Morrison Lectures at Princeton University

Bill T. Jones to deliver the 2012 Toni Morrison Lectures at Princeton University 

“The Life of an Idea: a three-part presentation on belonging, appropriating and adapting in the context of time” 

 April 17, 19 & 24

New York, NY, March 26, 2012 – Acclaimed director and choreographer Bill T. Jones will deliver a three-part presentation for the annual Toni Morrison Lectures on April 17, 19, and 24 at Princeton University. Sponsored jointly by the Center for African American Studies and Princeton University Press, the Toni Morrison Lectures spotlight the new and exciting work of scholars and writers who have risen to positions of prominence both in academe and in the broader world of letters. The lectures celebrate the expansive literary imagination, intellectual adventurousness and political insightfulness that characterize the writing of Toni Morrison. Established in 2006, past lecturers have included Cornel West, Edwidge Danticat, and The Honorable Cory Booker.

“I am deeply honored to deliver this year’s Toni Morrison Lectures and it is particularly exciting to share my thoughts about a lifetime in the creative arts and the particular journey represented by Story/Time,” said Bill T. Jones. “I hope that in reflecting on my creative process, audiences will be encouraged to further engage and participate in the world of ideas.“

Jones’s lectures, entitled “The Life of an Idea,” will investigate belonging, appropriating and adapting in the context of time in three parts: Past Time, Story/Time, and With Time. The lectures will be compiled and published in book form by Princeton University Press.

In Past Time (April 17 at 8pm, Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall), Jones reflects on the moment he entered the conversation about creative practice, aesthetic hierarchy, history, and “the modernist project” from the point of view of dance and body-based art making. John Cage’s thoughts and philosophy on the subject of composition as reported in his book Silence figure prominently as Jones discusses the dislocation and discomfort he experienced when attempting to emulate Cage’s paradigm. Questions of identity, aesthetic value, and criticism will be explored.

Story/Time (April 19 at 8pm, McCosh Hall) is a reading of sixty stories by Jones, each one minute long, from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s newest work, Story/Time (2012). Aphoristic, informal, ambiguous and often intensely personal, the stories offer a reluctant self-portrait of the artist, who will be accompanied by Story/Time composer Ted Coffey. A composer of acoustic and electronic chamber music, interactive installations, and songs, Coffey will contribute the results of his own investigation and responses to the John Cage idiom. Coffey is a graduate of Princeton University (MFA, PhD) and currently an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses in composition, music technologies, critical theory, and pop. Story/Time set designer and Creative Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Bjorn G. Amelan, will also participate by creating a drawing in real-time as part of the performance-lecture.

In the final lecture, With Time (April 24 at 8pm in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall), Jones discusses how his thinking about art-making has evolved over time, while addressing the constant fight for relevance, inspiration, and the tenacity needed to sustain a creative life.

The lecture series is free and open to the public. Tickets are required for admission and can be ordered from the Princeton University Ticketing Office by calling (609) 258-9220. The lectures will also be available via live webcast though the University’s website.

Members of the press should RSVP to Jennifer Loessy at the Center for African American Studies by emailing or calling (609) 258-3216.

For more information about the Toni Morrison Lectures, visit the Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies website at:

About Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones, a multi-talented artist, choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer, has received major honors ranging from a 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award to Kennedy Center Honors in 2010.  He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009 and named “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000.  His ventures into Broadway theater resulted in a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography in the critically acclaimed FELA!, the musical co-conceived, co-written, directed and choreographed by Mr. Jones.  He also earned a 2007 Tony Award for Best Choreography in Spring Awakening, as well as an Obie Award for the show’s 2006 off-Broadway run.  His choreography for the off-Broadway production of The Seven  earned him a 2006 Lucille Lortel Award.  Mr. Jones is Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Executive Artistic Director of New York Lives Arts.

About New York Live Arts

New York Live Arts strives to create a robust framework in support of the nation’s dance and movement-based artists through new approaches to producing, presenting and educating. In addition to our deep commitment to individual artists at all stages of their careers, we strive to create rich, meaningful experiences for our audiences by engaging them in ways that are intimate and thought-provoking. With our audience, we seek to become a place for dance that is vital to the fabric of social and cultural life in New York, the United States and beyond.

Formed in February 2011 by a merger of Dance Theater Workshop and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, New York Live Arts is a re-imagining of thelegacies of these two extraordinary organizations. New York Live Arts is located at 219 West 19th Street in New York City and is led by Bill T.Jones as Executive Artistic Director, Carla Peterson as Artistic Director, and Jean Davidson as Executive Director and CEO.