Bill T. Jones has collaborated with everyone who is anyone in his long career as an influential dancer and choreographer. I’ve always wanted to see him and got two chances last week: in Arizona as he was preparing to use ASU’s “intelligent stage” motion capture system, and in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Mr. Jones excels arranging one to three performers, with brilliant entrances and exits, and is ambitiously interested in heart issues. However, he fails to understand space — choreographing more than three people — in the three works we saw. His overly symmetrical approaches, and an over-reliance on repetition, can’t keep up with with other post-modern and post-post-modern groups such as The Wooster Group, Dumb Type and Pina Bausch. Approaching his theme of sexual and racial identity and tension with this lack of formal sensitivity and creativity is striking.
Although somewhat apples and oranges, Dance for Camera (2003) is an excellent example of how to negotiate the deep waters of conceptual dance as an art form. Add it to your Netflix queue, Mr Jones.