Bill T. Jones | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bill T. Jones 

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Bill T. Jones

Now 48, this choreographer-dancer won't stay still. For one thing he keeps on dancing; in fact Bill T. Jones is the only dancer in The Breathing Show, coming to town this weekend. It's divided into three sections: one set to Schubert songs, the second made up of reworked earlier solos (among them 21 and Floating the Tongue), and the third, Our Garden, about the discipline it takes to be an artist. (In a television interview Jones said that the artist must be constantly recalled to his task: "Come back and cultivate this place--don't be distracted.") Also included in The Breathing Show are a short film by Abraham Ravett and a projection of "Ghostcatching: A Virtual Dance Installation," made in collaboration with Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar, the same computer artists who helped create Merce Cunningham's Biped, seen here in March. But more important than the fact that Jones is still dancing (for which we should all be grateful nonetheless) is his continual evolution as a choreographer. He's gone from traditional if highly accomplished and often angry modern-dance pieces like the Bessie-winning D-Man in the Waters to big, angry multimedia events like Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land and Still/Here to much quieter, sadder evening-length works like the 1998 We Set Out Early...Visibility Was Poor. Now he's pared things down even further, putting himself pretty much alone onstage, singing or talking or moving in that evocative way he has. Asked about how he chooses a dancer, he said, "When they're moving, they're answering questions for themselves." He does the same. Friday and Saturday at 8 at the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe; $14-$44. Call 773-722-5463 for tickets and information. --Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joanne Savio.

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