Curriculum refers to an interactive system of instruction and learning with specific goals, contents, strategies, measurement and resources, typically associated with a young person in an academic setting. What do young people need to know to be free in today’s society? And why make another dance-theatre work? This question is always at the front of Bill T. Jones’ mind any time he begins a new creative process. In Curriculum, Jones is thinking out loud about the formal methods and historical style of the body-based physical theatre the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has been studying and creating over the past 38 years.
This evening length work takes at its starting point a work from 1995, New Duet, a solo Jones created for himself that evolved into a duet. This work was the last time Jones invented all of the movement material for and by himself. New Duet was a sincere effort in making a formal display of movement invention purely about space, time and gesture.
Curriculum is a shared exploration in going back to school; studying how history provides perspective on the contemporary conversations of our time: what is means to be a global citizen, issues of public and private identity, inclusion, morality, consciousness, and the anxieties or our era. Curriculum takes us back to the past in order to return to something that has been lost in the race to infuse art with political content: form.
This piece is intended to be received as process; both the cast and the musical elements will be interchangeable for every performance, often chosen by indeterminate means. The adventure for Jones is providing an opportunity for the audience to watch the formality unfold all the while finding a way to be direct about how this formal movement language must share other conversations going on and around this ensemble of performers. Very little is spoken, however slogans, fragments of speeches and songs will haunt the stage. It is Jones’ hope that the work will be a teaching tool for himself and his ensemble about the nature of movement through generations of bodies; as well as discovering what is the necessary knowledge that we need to have at this time to live in this world. What is the curriculum for the well informed free person?