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Bill T. Jones
Born February 15, 1952 (1952-02-15) (age 57)
Bunnell, Florida, USA
Occupation Choreographer, dancer
Official website

Bill T. Jones (born February 15, 1952) is an American artistic director, choreographer and dancer.


Early life

Jones was born in Bunnell, Florida and later moved to Wayland, New York, where he attended Wayland High School. He began his dance training at Binghamton University, studying classical ballet and modern dance.


Jones choreographed and performed worldwide as a soloist and duet company with his late partner, Arnie Zane before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982.[1]

Creating more than 100 works for his own company, Jones has also choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, AXIS Dance Company, Boston Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Berlin Opera Ballet and Diversions Dance Company, among others. In 1995, Jones directed and performed in a collaborative work with Toni Morrison and Max Roach, Degga, at Alice Tully Hall, commissioned by Lincoln Center’s "Serious Fun" Festival. His collaboration with Jessye Norman, How! Do! We! Do! premiered at New York’s City Center in 1999.

In 1990, Jones choreographed Sir Michael Tippett’s New Year under the direction of Sir Peter Hall for the Houston Grand Opera and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival. He conceived, co-directed and choreographed Mother of Three Sons, which was performed at the Munich Biennale, New York City Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. He also directed Lost in the Stars for the Boston Lyric Opera. Jones’ theater involvement includes co-directing Perfect Courage with Rhodessa Jones for Festival 2000, in 1990. In 1994, he directed Derek Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain for The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN.

Television credits include PBS’s “Great Performances” Series (Fever Swamp and Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land) and “Alive from Off Center” (Untitled). Still/Here was co-directed for television by Bill T. Jones and Gretchen Bender. A PBS documentary on the making of Still/Here, by Bill Moyers and David Grubin, “Bill T. Jones: Still/Here with Bill Moyers”, premiered in 1997. The 1999 Blackside documentary I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African-American Arts, profiled Jones’ work. D-Man in the Waters is included in “Free to Dance”, a 2001 Emmy winning documentary that chronicles modern dance’s African-American roots. Narrated by Jones himself, the BBC/VIEW also produced a documentary film, entitled Bill T. Jones: Dancing to the Promised Land, that documents the creation of Jones’s Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land and guides us through the life, work, and creative process of Jones and the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company. [2]

Jones is the co-creator, director and choreographer of the musical Fela!, which ran Off-Broadway in 2008 and is scheduled to open on Bradway in previews in October 2009. Jones won the Lucille Lortel Award as Outstanding choreographer for his work.[3]


In 1994, Jones received a MacArthur “Genius” Award.[4] In 1979, Jones was granted the Creative Artists Public Service Award in Choreography, and in 1980, 1981 and 1982, he was the recipient of Choreographic Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Bill T. Jones has been awarded several New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards; 1986 Joyce Theater Season (along with Arnie Zane), D-Man in the Waters (1989 and 2001), The Table Project (2001) and The Breathing Show (2001). Mr. Jones, along with his collaborators, sister Rhodessa Jones and Idris Ackamoor, received an “Izzie” Award in Choreography for Perfect Courage in 1992. In 2001, Jones received another “Izzie” for his work, Fantasy in C-Major, with AXIS Dance Company. Jones was honored with the Dorothy B. Chandler Performing Arts Award for his innovative contributions to performing arts in 1991. In 1993, Jones was presented with the Dance Magazine Award. In 2000, The Dance Heritage Coalition named Jones “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure.” Jones has received honorary doctorates from the Art Institute of Chicago, Bard College, Columbia College, the Juilliard School, Swarthmore College, and Yale University. He is also a recipient of the SUNY Binghamton Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2005 he received the Wexner Prize at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University In 2007, he won the Tony award for Best Choreography for Spring Awakening.[5]

Jones was named a 2007 USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellow and awarded a $50,000 grant by United States Artists, a public charity that supports and promotes the work of American artists.[6]


Film Appearances

  • 1986: The Kitchen Presents Two Moon July
  • 1994: Black is... Black Ain't
  • 2001: Free to Dance
  • 2004: Bill T. Jones: Dancing to the Promised Land[2]
  • 2008: The Black List: Volume One
  • 2008: The Universe of Keith Haring
  • 2008: Bill T Jones - Solos


  • Jones, Bill T.; Gillespie, Peggy (1995). Last Night on Earth (First edition ed.). New York: Pantheon. ISBN 0679439269.  
  • Jones, Bill T.; Zane, Arnie; Zimmer, Elizabeth; Quasha, Susan (1989). Body Against Body: The Dance and Other Collaborations of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane (First edition ed.). Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press. ISBN 0882680641.  
  • Jones, Bill T.; Susan Kuklin (1998). Dance (First edition ed.). New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0786823070.  
  • Zane, Arnie; Jones, Bill T. and Green, Jonathan (1999). Continuous Replay: The Photographs of Arnie Zane (First edition ed.). Cambridge: MIT Press.  


  1. ^ Julinda Lewis-Ferguson (2 February 2007). "Bill T. Jones". Queer Cultural Center. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  
  2. ^ a b VIEW Video DVD Listing
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew."Hair's Sengbloh Joins Broadway's Fela!; Additional Casting Announced", August 29, 2009
  4. ^ "MacArthur Fellows". The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  
  5. ^ Associated Press (2006-04-16). "Bill T. Jones honored with $50,000 Wexner Prize". The Advocate. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  
  6. ^ "Bill T. Jones: USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellow, Dance". United States Artists. 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  

External links

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