Bill T. Jones


Last night, I saw the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company dance at Prospect Park with Nancy and Michelle. I’ve always wanted to see Bill T. Jones perform—the few times I’ve seen him speak (okay, the one time on PBS, when he was doing a dance project for people who were dealing with fatal illnesses), he struck me. First off, he’s a stunning man and he speaks like a poet, he really feels his words, so it was great eagerness I schlepped to his free performance.

The only exposure I’ve had to modern dance is through my pal Kirsten, who is a dancer/choreographer among a million kabillion things, and Bill T. Jones’s stuff’s kinda reminded me of her dances—weird, baffling, mysterious but also exciting. I don’t understand it, but I like it. As an audience, I’m always, duh, why that text with that move there? There was a lot of this wild stop/go thing, like the dancers are changing their mind mid-sentence, and then drive forward in a completely different direction/pace/idea. This would never occur to my body, as I have barely mastered the side to side bop, with some finger snapping, and am still progressing with my pop and lock.

Man, all those dancers worked hard, sweating, contorting in un-average positions seemingly without effort. I always wonder about their lives off-stage, if they like the touring, to come to non-home places to sweat your buns off and dance your heart out and move on, if they feel as free as they look (I do one set of sit-ups and I’m ready lie down). And then Bill T. Jones comes out shirtless, and dude, this guy is no spring chicken, but still ripped. He’s actually more ripped b/c he’s old man-ripped. You can see the years of practice in his muscles, each clearly defined, and his friggin’ 10-pack. My first thought was Bill T. Jones could make millions selling Tae-Bo videos.

Nancy now wants to start a dance company, and although I don’t dance or choreograph well, I am allowed to join and started practicing my modern dance moves immediately on the subway ride home.

8 Replies to “Bill T. Jones”

  1. I hope in my next life to be reincarnated as a modern dancer. Until then I will be content being an appreciative audience member. I even clap on cue!

    Tina, have you ever seen the Shen Wei dance company? Definitely worth a gander – his stuff is just stupefying and mesmerizing. I will be on the lookout for Mr. Jones – how can one resist “old man ripped”?

    Sorry for being snarky about Ratatouille. Greg says that sometimes my merciless teasing gets out of hand and I annoy rather than charm. In addition to my volatile temper, it is a trait that I am working on tempering. Mea culpa.

  2. I”m really pissed off about your Ratatouille postings so I’m glad you apologized to me. Yeah right. I didn’t feel like you teased me too much! Or me at all. Perhaps I’m a dolt, and I love that Greg, who read our poems from junior year outloud at a party, was giving you a hard time about that. hA ha.

    I’ve never seen Shen Wei,. Would love to see it. Dunno if I loved Bill T Jones’s stuff per se,but it’s been so long since I’ve gotten to see dance and it was just good to see the potential of the human body. For me, plank makes me want to die. Some people can aspire to plie in the sky, mine is to fit into my pants.

    I never even saw the Hubbard company when it was in town, I’m so bad, though I did see parsons a few times. And I loved K’s stuff. Kiki, do you choreograph any more or just do commissions or just too swamped?

  3. If I recall correctly, there was no love during my reading of your poems at that party…. although I do recall Becca loving it and egging it on. SJ told me to go to tina lee .com and in trying to find your site, I stumbled upon the Very Accurate Clairvoyant Psychic at Pretty cool stuff and MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!

  4. I envision that the first dance piece of the Nancy Kim/Tina Lee Dance Company will be the two of us walking through the space reciting lines from movies and then dropping to do the plank for 2, 5, 10 minutes at a time. We keep this up for 2 hours. Then we just walk off stage.

    They will say it is powerful, risk-taking, and humanistic.

  5. I think they probably would, Nancy. Critics are funky like that. There’s a famous response to a Paul Taylor solo he did in his experimental phase (all three months of it in the sixties) where he stood on stage in silence for awhile and then walked off. The Times critic (I forget who) printed a column of white space in response. Pretty f-ing cool, I think, as a historical event if not riveting as a kinetic exploration. I still choreograph on two schools in PA when called upon. I want to do more. Let me tell you that once you become aware of the extreme potential of the human body, the mother-body can sometimes seem like such a disappointment. Sure, creating and sustaining a life inside your own is pretty cool–in theory. But unless you abandon your brood for 2 hours of pilates a night (celebrity style) and deny your children ice cream so as not to fall off the wagon yourself–the resulting post-birth body is not the body that once vaulted through the aethersphere. I have a recurrent dream where I can sort of fly (or really jump for extended periods of time–crouching tiger-style). That is the best dream.

  6. nancy — the plank actually requires muscle. do you think i can do that? what about the slapping on the forehead motion? i can do that.

    kiki–it’s cool that you have dreams of flying. i can’t imagine anything similarly free in my life, but maybe im more anxious than you. it’s so cool that you’ve been able to dance, and i can kind of understand what you mean by your post-mom body, but then, your standards are different from other non-dance folk, since you had better abs of steel at five months pregnant than i have ever experienced. still, i went to an audition today and sang and pranced in public, which i’m now happy to do having to spend most of my waking hours at a desk.

    greeeeeeeegggg!!!! you remember correctly — i just love that you were busting sungji’s chops on rataouille when you read our sestinas outloud. don’t use becca as your moral measure. that girl lives to tease. so you have found my doppelgangers on the web! There is a blond older psychic by the name of Tina Lee in florida, as well as an Asian quasi porn star. Good times. You have any?

  7. NNK: You are the most awesomenest.

    TL: I agree — if I were to do it all over again, I’d have stuck with dancing. My parents enrolled me in ballet at age 3 to get me over my shyness (HA!). They pulled me out for piano at age 7, and then ice skating at 14. Which, funnily enough, corresponds to their seeing Asians on TV in those areas. Ah TV…speak my destiny.

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