Story/Time: The Life of an Idea

Overview

"Bill T. Jones has always been on the forefront of powerful hybrid art forms, whether it's politics and dance or Broadway and edgy. In Story/Time, he spins John Cage. A master of timing, Jones applies Cage's rigor to his own work, adding his own style and warmth. Story/Time's choreographed language is a beautiful new realm."--Laurie Anderson

"One of America's iconic dancers and choreographers gives us an insight into his inspirations and processes, in a series of vivid vignettes of being, thinking, and doing, ...

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Overview

"Bill T. Jones has always been on the forefront of powerful hybrid art forms, whether it's politics and dance or Broadway and edgy. In Story/Time, he spins John Cage. A master of timing, Jones applies Cage's rigor to his own work, adding his own style and warmth. Story/Time's choreographed language is a beautiful new realm."--Laurie Anderson

"One of America's iconic dancers and choreographers gives us an insight into his inspirations and processes, in a series of vivid vignettes of being, thinking, and doing, which is to say, of living. A fascinating text."--Salman Rushdie

"A miraculous time spent in the company of Bill T. Jones, as he questions, conjectures, and responds to the words, thoughts, and works of John Cage. It is a gift to the world of ideas, and to us all."--Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program

"Jones's honesty and unmistakable voice reveal his artistic struggle to find his place in relationship to Cage, an artist whose ideas and teachings he both admires and questions. This rich document offers the reader access to the life, work, and creative processes of this important and influential American choreographer."--Susan Marshall, director of dance at Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts and artistic director of Susan Marshall & Company

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An experimental dancer/choreographer/performance artist improvises on the nature of story itself in a unique format. . . . A brave and often successful attempt to capture and display movement and intuition and the unspoken on the printed page."--Kirkus Reviews

"Story/Time: The Life of an Idea is an ethereal memoir emblematic of this iconoclastic trailblazer's unpredictable approach to everything he does."--Kam Williams, AALBC.com

"Readers interested in the intersection of dance, performance art, and the world of ideas will gain insight and inspiration from this thoughtful and singular work."--Carolyn M. Mulac, Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-25
An experimental dancer/choreographer/performance artist improvises on the nature of story itself in a unique format.Derived from Jones’ presentations at Princeton University for the Toni Morrison Lectures in 2012, the text is a hybrid. There is some introductory material explaining what follows—material that credits John Cage’sIndeterminacy(1958) for inspiration. (The author returns to consider Cage continually.) The central—and largest section—is a series of 60 single-page narratives, each designed to consume a minute of dance and reading. Jones has used a computer’s random sorting program to arrange the narratives, so readers need to be alert as they move from page to page, for time and location and theme change rapidly, and chronology is an anachronism. In one 10-page segment, we move from a New Mexico mesa, to news about a friend’s death, to acquiring old family photographs, to John Cage’s diary, to a visit to Theresienstadt, to an amateur porn film. Readers become participants, seeking sense, as if looking at an unfamiliar landscape through the windows of a swiftly moving train. Each narrative, however, has an emotional core that readers will feel, sometimes quite powerfully. Another major section is a collection of black-and-white photographs of the performances. We see the performers, an image of time from a digital clock, and the author, seated at a small table, reading his narratives from a loose-leaf binder. The images conclude with a performer lying on the floor, mist swirling around. In the final section, Jones reflects on what he has done, tells how he began as a dancer and choreographer, and returns again to Cage, including a brief transcript of a conversation with Laura Kuhn, the John Cage Professor of Performance Art at Bard College.A brave and often successful attempt to capture and display movement and intuition and the unspoken on the printed page.
Library Journal
08/01/2014
Characterized by the Oxford Dictionary of Dance as "a provocative and controversial choreographer," Jones, a Tony Award winner (Spring Awakening; FELA!) and recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and a Kennedy Center Honor, was invited by the Princeton University Center for African American Studies to deliver three Toni Morrison Lectures. In this printed record of those lectures, described by the author as "a performance yearning to be a document, a book," the centerpiece is Story/Time, an exploration of Jones's dance work of the same name. In it, Jones responds to composer John Cage's theory of indeterminacy. Its 60 very short stories are printed in grids and meant to be read aloud. "Story/Time" is preceded by "Past Time" and followed by "With Time," essays that explore a variety of ideas and concepts, often in very personal terms and include a number of quotations from Cage. Several pages of photographs include records of actual performances of Story/Time. VERDICT Readers interested in the intersection of dance, performance art, and the world of ideas will gain insight and inspiration from this thoughtful and singular work.—Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Bill T. Jones is an acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and director. He is the artistic director, cofounder, and choreographer of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and executive artistic director of New York Live Arts. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including Tony Awards for "FELA!" and "Spring Awakening", a Kennedy Center Honor, and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Jones the National Medal of Arts, the country's highest honor for achievement in the arts.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface ix
Past Time 1
Story/Time 19
With Time 97

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