Bill T. Jones advises patience, balance at first spring DLS

Award-winning choreographer and artistic director Bill T. Jones talks artistic process with UW-Madison students.

Image By: Dana Kampa

Award-winning artistic director Bill T. Jones shared the importance of balance in the first lecture of Wisconsin Union Directorate’s Distinguished Lecture Series Thursday.

Jones received a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, a 2013 National Medal of Arts and a 1994 MacArthur Genius Award for his work as a choreographer and artistic director.

“Walk with me, walk with me Lord, walk with me” were the first words that echoed through the Wisconsin Union Theater in Jones’ voice.

Two UW-Madison dance professors introduced Jones, and foreshadowed how powerful his words can be.

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Fellow and UW-Madison Dance Department chair Professor Li Chiao-Ping said Jones’ history is inspiring.

“His works are highly personal and daring,” Chiao-Ping said. “This living dance legend is proof that dreams can come true—that you can make something, contribute something to the world, even if you start with almost nothing.”

Jones offered the audience of students and community members two key pieces of advice.

First, Jones said art, like anything else, has a process—a series of steps in which to frame one’s thoughts and questions.

“We have method. We have proposition. The result is indeterminate,” Jones said.

Second, he said change, be it in society, in doctrine, in mindset or elsewhere, starts in small steps. Jones suggested the only way to change the world is to start by focusing on a small portion of the problem.

He added the larger focus should be on balancing, not focusing on a specific art form.

“Anger. Hatred. Revenge. Suspicion. Compassion. Love. Acceptance. Courage. How’re you doing balancing?” Jones asked.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Cardinal.