Choreographer Bill T. Jones Shares Insights with Students

Photo: Mike Peters

Bill T. Jones

Montclair State University Dance Program students and faculty were recently treated to the experience of a lifetime: an open rehearsal and informal chat with Bill T. Jones. The iconic choreographer (Spring Awakening, Fela) and McArthur Foundation “Genius” Award winner came to campus on March 24 to coach the dancers in his joyous, vintage signature work, D-Man in the Waters (1989), which will be featured as part of the Danceworks 2012 repertory opening Wednesday, April 11 in the Alexander Kasser Theater.

For two hours, the star-struck BFA dance students ran, jumped, rolled, and dove through the dance studio alongside their charismatic guest teacher, who exhorted them by turns to “Rebel!,” “Breathe!,” “take over the space,” “be a community,” and “channel a new world.” The dynamic and emotional rehearsal was followed by an intimate, revealing hour-long Q&A/dialogue between Bill T. Jones and Theatre and Dance Professor Neil Baldwin.

D-Man in the Waters is an integral part of the “Dance and the Human Spirit” themed repertory created in commemoration and remembrance of the events of 9/11. Other dance works on the Danceworks 2012 program, April 12-15, include José Limón’s poignant There Is A Time, and a new work, we love you get up, by Chase Brock, choreographer for Broadway’s Spiderman—Turn Off The Dark.

Chase Brock and dance artist Ryoko Kudo will participate in a post-performance community “Talkback” after the Friday, April 13, evening performance of Danceworks 2012.