Dancer Bill T. Jones Returns to Carpenter Center in SoCal Premiere of “Story/Time”

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Multi-Tony award-winning director, dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones will perform the Southern California premiere of “Story/Time” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, part of California State University, Long Beach.

During “Story/Time,” nine dancers recontextualize steps from Mr. Jones’ extensive career while he reads minute-long stories, many from his own life, with random selections of electronic music from intermedia artist Ted Coffey playing. Randomization and improvisation continues throughout the evening with the show’s lighting cues, dancing and stories, making each performance entirely original.

Mr. Jones said the performance is a meditation on experimental composer John Cage’s “Indeterminacy,” a 1958 work in which Mr. Cage read 90 stories, each one minute long. The way that performance used chance procedure to create beauty inspired Mr. Jones.
“Engaging with this seminal work allowed me to examine and interrogate a system of thought and practice grounded in ideas held by many—myself included—striving to understand how Eastern thought, liberation philosophy and art could be used to redefine reality for both the maker and his or her audience,” Mr. Jones wrote.

Mr. Jones—whose major honors include a MacArthur “Genius” Award, the, 2014 National Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors and two Tony awards—reads stories that have included descriptions of his dying lover Arnie Zane, a conversation between Mr. Jones’ mother and Anjelica Huston, use of cocaine by railway workers that spread through rural black communities and a woman who badly burns herself after a night of drinking.

This performance marks Mr. Jones’ return to the Carpenter Center following his landmark 2012 residency during the theatre’s B-Word Project: Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted—Censorship and the Response to it. At that time, CSULB dance students performed Jones’ piece, “Reading, Mercy and the Artificial Nigger,” a work inspired by a Flannery O’Connor short story. It was the first time the work had been performed by dancers outside of Jones’ own dance company.

This is the first of three performances in the Carpenter Center’s 2015-16 Dance Series subscription.

Single tickets for “Story/Time” start at $40, and subscriptions to all three Dance Series events are $99. For tickets and more information, visit or call the Carpenter Center Ticket Office at (562) 985-7000. This series is made possible in part by Season Media Partner KPCC 89.3-FM.

About Bill T. Jones

Jones received the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors; a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography for the hit “FELA!”; a 2007 Tony Award, a 2007 Obie Award and a 2006 Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Callaway Award for his choreography for “Spring Awakening;” the 2010 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award; the 2007 USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship; the 2006 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Choreography for “The Seven;” the 2005 Wexner Prize; the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement; the 2005 Harlem Renaissance Award; the 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; and a 1994 MacArthur “genius” award. In 2000, The Dance Heritage Coalition named Jones “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure.”

Jones choreographed and performed worldwide with his late partner, Arnie Zane, before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982. He has created more than 140 works for his company. In 2011, Jones was named executive artistic director of New York Live Arts, an organization that strives to create a robust framework in support of the nation’s dance and movement-based artists through new approaches to producing, presenting and educating.

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