Bill T. Jones

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2014

New York, NY

Choreographer, dancer, theatre director, and writer Bill T. Jones has created over 140 works including Story/Time (2012), inspired by John Cage’s Indeterminacy (1958)—during which Jones read his own one-minute stories amidst a landscape of dance and music. He premiered A Rite (2013) in collaboration with fellow Doris Duke Artist, Anne Bogart—a major dance-theatre work celebrating Stravinsky’s iconic composition. Since 2010, he has served as Executive Artistic Director of New York Live Arts (formed by a merger of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop). His numerous honors and awards range from Kennedy Center Honors (2010) to a MacArthur Fellowship (1994). His Broadway endeavors have garnered Tony Awards for Best Choreography for Spring Awakening (2010) and FELA! (2007)—a musical that he also co-conceived, co-wrote, and directed. Currently, he is developing work incorporating the writing style of W.G. Sebald, modern folk songs, and new music by Ted Coffey that will premiere in 2015.

  • Photo Credit: Christina Lane
  • Bill T. Jones- Ravel: Landscape or Portrait? (2013):
    Ravel: Landscape or Portrait? (2013)
  • Bill T. Jones- Story/Time (2012):
    Story/Time (2012)
  • Photo Credit: Paul B. Goode
    Story/Time (2012)

What are your key goals for the award period? What challenges, desires, drives or needs are inspiring these goals?

As a mid-career artist whose creed might be condensed into the following, “Art making is participation in the world of ideas,” this wonderful award will serve to address at least two ongoing concerns in my life at this time:

First, I will be contributing a portion of it to the new entity I am now the Artistic Director of, New York Live Arts. My company merged with the historic Dance Theater Workshop as a means of comingling my DNA as an artist/creator with this historic and essential breeder of new ideas. As an artist, I have always been interested in the notion that though art is a deeply personal endeavor, the artist and works they make grow out of a milieu, a community, a public space. This venture is for me an extension of my artistic practice.

The remainder of the award will help relieve some of what are the unacknowledged, though very real world pressures, some mundane and some not so: debt reduction, health, more time to dream…