Bill T. Jones
It’s a throwback to life in the 1930’s, where two people through occupation approximation, fall in love. It was not an inevitability, but the image building was paramount as far as both were concerned. Their love for each other was so uniquely passionate, it was a spectacle just watching them eat lobster at a high end restaurant.
Unfortunately, it could not last; one got ill , and despite efforts to prolong life, the undertaker was called. What was the survivor to do? Find another mate or live out the rest of one’s life in singleness. He continued to dress immaculately, kept the lifestyle he was accustomed to; however, that became a facade. He was growing thinner and thinner, he was hanging on by a thread; depressed, and without his loved one, the extrication from earth was his hope. Depression had found a home.
How do you tell such a story in modern dance? Renowned African American choreographer/Director Bill T. Jones (77) tackled this at the Kennedy Center. This was told in a Trilogy that spanned 3 days. He used photography, dance, singing, and included political slogans i.e. BLACK LIVES MATTER, THE HOLOCAUST, symbols of whiteness, Islam, and gave a thumbs up the LGBTQ community.
I found him arrogant at the after performance press conference. Arnie Zane, Jones Italian Jewish lover died of AIDS at age 39. I remember in 1988 Jones’ concern whether he might have been infected. He is still here, thus the arrogance and his drawn to subjects of love, life, image and depression.
He considers those of us who put away the screens (Television, cell phones, movies) and attend the arts, as the crème de la crème, comparable to the Greek rulers who raised their children to rule and not be ruled, and could not be mentally controlled en mass.
Our society is filled with mental depressives; fear and flight leads to depression. And the answer is not drugs, alcohol, or isolationism.
There is a better way to love without experiencing depression; it’s a characteristic that exhibits a belief of endurance and a willingness to overcome. A path very few have trod.