Director and choreographer Bill T. Jones – whose major honors include a MacArthur “Genius” Award, the Kennedy Center Honors and two Tony Awards for Best Choreography – returns to the stage at the center of an acclaimed new work for his renowned company. Inspired by legendary artist and composer John Cage’s Indeterminacy, a performance of ninety one-minute stories interrupted by a chance musical score, Jones creates a collage of dance, music, and seventy of his own short stories, arranged anew for each performance by chance procedure.
In Story/Time, Jones fuses the age-old art of storytelling with a vibrant landscape of contemporary movement and music. Similar to a busy streetscape or a crowded room, the experience challenges audience members to find meaning and connection in the sweep of randomized, disparate elements. Jones’ short stories are drawn from his own life and tales handed down through the generations of his family. In layering a traditional form against the avant-garde compositional concerns of the mid- century modernists, the tension between high and low art is called in to question.
In his first project with the Company, composer, musician, and intermedia artist Ted Coffey, Ph.D. composes and performs a new acoustic and electronic score that draws upon chance procedure and interactive technologies. In Open Space, Newton Armstrong describes Coffey’s music as “subtle, weird and devoid of heroics. It’s the kind of music that resonates for days after you’ve heard it, and its spaces and gestures continue to form into new and extraordinary geometries.”
Long-time Company collaborators Robert Wierzel (lighting design), Bjorn Amelan (décor), and Liz Prince (costume design) designed the immersive, minimalist stage environment.
Co-commissioned by Peak Performances @ Montclair State (NJ) and the Walker Art Center.
Developed in residence at Arizona State University Gammage Auditorium, Bard College, Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, University of Virginia, and the Walker Art Center.
The Washington Post Bill T. Jones at Wolf Trap
The Montclair Times, Gather ’round: Bill T. Jones has some stories to tell