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Bill T. Jones is an amazing choreographer and artist with an exhilarating stage charisma. His compilation of Solos includes Ionization, Chaconne, and Tea for Two. All different from each other are a depiction of Jones emotions and body moves to their extremes. His emotions actually speak through the music that he performs on. Individually, Ionization has extreme involvement of expressions which depict humor and violence. Chaconne is a flickering performance that displays the involvement of artistic techniques used in modern dance. Tea for Two , is a depiction of emotions like desire, obsession, and love. This paper is an outlook of Jones work especially in these performances and how each performance is an artistic representation of emotions through body articulations.
The classical song Tea for Two is what Bill T. Jones s performance is based upon. It is a solo performance performed twice; once on the stairs, and next in a studio. However, there is a vast difference between the two performances accordingly due to the settings.
Firstly, Tea for Two: On the Stairs. The performance is a depiction of love, freewill, and peace. Jones performs with his full fervor on the streets out to celebrate. Also, the lyrics sung by Blossom Dearie speak for themselves as the dancer is blissful and content about the house created for him and his lover away from the busy life of the city. As a spectator, I have felt that it was a romantic ballad dance where Jones is conveying to his audience that he is happy regarding being alone with his loved one with no one to bother them enabling them to have tea for two and enjoying it without any interruption.
Also, I have realized that Jones s free style dancing reflects his freedom and peacefulness. The daylight tends to capture the essence of love and happiness, while his facial expressions are of happy man content with his living and life. In this dance sequence, the space is fully utilized with no sets, or props to disturb the concept of freedom he is trying to convey to the audience. A very natural and clean performance, which shows what little happiness in life along with a loved one, can do to a human being.
Moreover, moving on to Tea for Two: In the Studio . Do you think I ll make a soldier, every round goes higher and higher, do you want to have your freedom? are the words of Bill T. Jones which he added after his performance to the piece in the studio. To me, this altered the mood after watching the performance as Jones left the audience in deep thoughts; also, leaving space for the audience to ponder over the relationship between the performance and reality. As a spectator, it appeared to me that Jones is referring to himself as a soldier of love aiming to win freedom as he pictures it with his loved one.
Moving on to another spectacular piece by Bill T. Jones titled Ionization . Ionization is a piece choreographed to a classic music composition by Edgar Varese, and this dance piece is an excellent synchronization of different instruments with the moves of the body.
Also, as a spectator, the dance is an ionization of the human body to different beats in life and is also built on the premise of how a body moves to the most sensitive distinctions of various kinds of percussive sounds. Different instruments such as the bass and snare drums are a pleasure to hear when synchronized to soft and soothing sounds of the piano and saxophone. The audiences which seem to be all relaxed and clam are only awakened with the sounds of the roaring lion and sirens. Bill T. Jones dances in this sequence easily and peacefully moving his body along with the beat of the instruments played individually. What is more interesting are the silent gaps which are heart rendering for the audience giving them enough time to applaud the performance. It felt like he was trying to breathe properly after being able to stop for a while in the midst of the busy city life.
This is a solo performance by Jones. The performance alone is like a movie and the spectators are bound to believe that this is done deliberately in order to depict the emotions in entirety. His articulation of body moves and facial expressions is outstanding. He switches swiftly from one expression to another yet having full control over his emotions. Humor and violence are the two emotions that we see gradually at extremity in the performance from beginning to the end. Body language and facial expressions are shown from time to time and not throughout the piece as most of the performance is made virtual in a limited space. Sometimes we will feel as if the music is hindering the ability to show emotions in entirety. Jones is seen displaying his muscles openly in this performance.
Furthermore, Bill T. Jones dances on Johann Sebastian Bach s Chaconne as the music for the piece because it is widespread with inconsistency due to its elusive and mysterious nature. One would be hard pressed to name a more formal dance performance, yet the levels of emotional expression are immense. Chaconne is framed around spoken text and the music of Bach's haunting D-Minor Partita for Solo Violin. Jones' musicality shines through his muscular choreography in a kinetic affirmation of the power of art. This solo performance accompanied some of the time by Bach's D minor partita for solo violin which intercuts Jones personal memories with words about his mother, Estella, who died. The poses that he performs on stage depict his fluency in dancing. The words come and go. In this sequence he dances in counterpoint with an appearing and vanishing gauzy white image of himself (Jones).
As discussed above the sequence is based on text along with the music. This text reflects the past life of Bill T. Jones who lost his mother to whom he was very close. The text is directly related to the sad and painful moves of Jones in the dance sequence. The text helps the audience understand the mood of the dancer and also help them comprehend what the purpose of the dance sequence is. The words that run along with the performance are The last time I saw her she could not stand, all what she wanted to do is sing. As a spectator, I derived to a conclusion that Jones is dancing in pain for someone who is gone or lost. In Bach s case it was his wife Maria and in Jones case it is his mother, Estella Jones. Furthermore, the music that is entirely a mix of violins, adds to the romantic and gentle theme of the performance. In the end of the performance Jones points his finger towards the camera which leaves the audience to ponder. It could be his loved one who arrived- maybe only in his imagination.
In conclusion, Bill. T Jones is an exclusive performer and choreographer who entrenches imaginary situations in his performances. His every physical move is in collaboration with his emotions, in his performances. The best part about Jones is that he does not take help of props and costumes unlike many other artists which is very difficult as the entire focus of the audience is on the performer. He is proficient in his work and has the ability to keep his audience engaged till they depart from the theater.