Bill T. Jones is one of the few choreographers who can weave together social consciousness with choreographic inventiveness. This is visible in all three parts of his Analogy Trilogy, a 6½-hour marathon that comes to NYU Skirball Center on Sept. 22 and 23.
In this Trilogy, Jones goes beyond his own cultural identity. The first part, Dora: Tramontane, centers on Dora Amelan, a Holocaust survivor who tried to help children during World War II. Her ordeal is told through interviews spoken by the dancers and envisioned in shifting scenes. The second part, Lance: Pretty aka the Escape Artist, is about Jones' nephew, and his involvement in the underground world of drugs and sex in New York in the 80s. This section contains several gorgeously choreographed duets. The third part, Ambros: The Emigrant, is not about a real person but about the nature of trauma and memory.
Jones has always been engaged in social issues. It's part of what makes his work so resonant—and so necessary for our times.
While creating Analogy Trilogy over four years, Jones collaborated with the dancers of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and its associate artistic director Janet Wong. Bjorn Amelan's set of moveable barriers suggests a house, a hospital, a window, a fence. The original music by Nick Hallett is played live. Some of the scenes are intense, others are transporting—and the terrific dancers sink everything they have into it.