words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Dance

Moments In Time (A Yesterday Video Remix)

Sometimes moments in time are like the possession of precious jewels only remembered briefly…..

My latest video entitled “Moments In Time (A Yesterday Video Remix)” starts off with clips from previous videos and a multimedia performance before evolving into my most recent ventures of 2012; finding new forms in the mountains of Western North Carolina. My early video work began back in 1988. Of course there were no digital cameras, and we had to use those large, bulky, VHS Cameras. At the time I was fortunate to have some rather unique video editing software, and hardware courtesy of my Amiga 1000 digital suite and the third-party supplier of a video mixer called the Genlock. Now with a HD digital camera, there is much higher resolution, creating a more definitive, sharper image. I recently purchased the Avid Studio Pro video software, and hope that the quality, and versatility will yield several levels of high performance (within a modest price range).

One of the major traits in the processing of my previous video work, has been my ability to layer video sources. So I am looking forward to using this new capability (the latest digital hardware and software) to continue this process. In the end I hope to create thought-provoking video imagery that is abstract, ambient. and minimalistic.

So I hope you enjoy what I think may be a transitional video on the path to new ideas, and processes.

Moments In Time (A Yesterday Video Remix)….

http://youtu.be/6ti_CrYaRzk

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“All I Ask Is That I Am Allowed To Participate In The World Of Ideas” – Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones

I am a strong admirer of dance and modern dance in particular. And most notably Bill T. Jones, who has always been at the forefront of the discipline.  He is an immensely creative and provocative choreographer, artistic director and dancer. I had the pleasure this evening of watching American Masters on PBS, and the featuring of “A Good Man”– Bill T. Jones and his examination of the life of President Lincoln and his new piece “The Ghost Train”. Listening to Jones’ pondering on creativity; the social, political, and psychological constructs that form his art, I was deeply inspired. It led me to my previous post on the idea of artists giving voice to their vision. This is a night of celebrating ideas, voice and Bill T. Jones.

http://youtu.be/Dg4a5RiAed8Bill T. Jones – As I Was Saying

http://youtu.be/ag5cSZcKp1g – Toronto Dance: Bill T. Jones – Chapel/Chapter

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

Early life

Jones was born in Bunnell, Florida and his family moved North as part of the Great Migration in the first half of the twentieth century. They settled in Wayland, New York, where Jones attended Wayland High School. He began his dance training at Binghamton University, where he studied 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.

Career

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.

Jones also collaborated with artist Keith Haring in 1982 to create a series of both performance and visual arts together.

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.

Jones is the co-creator, director and choreographer of the musical Fela!, which ran Off-Broadway in 2008 and opened on Broadway in previews in October 2009. Jones won the Lucille Lortel Award as Outstanding Choreographer for his work as well as the Tony Award for Best Choreography.

Awards

In 1994, Jones received a MacArthur “Genius” Award. 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 2003 Jones was awarded The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, one of the richest prizes in the arts, given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” 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.

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.

Jones was inducted into the National Museum of Dance C.V. Whitney Hall of Fame in 2007.

In 2010, Jones won the Tony Award for Best Choreography for his work in Fela!.

He was one of five recipients for the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors.

Bill T Jones was the recipient of the 2011 YoungArts Arison Award which is given annually to an individual who has had a significant influence on the development of young American artists.

Bill T. Jones


The Fun House @ Highwire Gallery: 1991 / Dreaming in Future Tense / a 2011 remix

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“Sometimes we turn the pages in the Book of Memories and come to remember the children who dream in future tense”…..

The Highwire Gallery production of The Fun House
workshop began in March 1991 at the Sayre Morris Community Center in West
Philadelphia and concluded with a performance in May. Funded by the PA Council
on the Arts, the goal was to bring together a group of children and introduce
them to the arts. Our focus would be on dance, performance, music and the visual
arts. Another important part of the workshop was for it to be a community
service, which merged different ethnic backgrounds and communities. For the
eleven girls who participated in the workshop, the hope was to inspire personal
challenges and the pursuit of their dreams. Everyone involved, the artists of
Highwire Gallery, the kids, Empress our musical director, Sandra Lynn our choreographer,
and “DADA” (Dancers Against Drug Abuse) met the challenge and worked hard to
make the program a huge success.

How do we encourage our children to dream, a dream that
inspires, enriches and motivates them to reach for the sky, and to touch just one of the millions of snowflakes that
can be found in the realm of possibilities? How do we lead them by the hand,
through the garden of hopes and dreams?

The Kids at Sandy Beach 2011

I think we do it one child at a time, one school at a time, one
project at a time, and as one community. Children love to discover, and be creative.
I strongly believe that the arts will provide them with the tools they will need for exploring their
imagination and giving birth to their dreams.

What do you feel is our children’s greatest need? What resources in our society would you like to see be provided for the well being and growth of our children? Do you believe that the arts, especially at a young age, is a vital tool for encouraging creative thinking and problem solving?

What do you think?

Select the link below for a dream-like journey into a contemporary child’s lullaby.

http://youtu.be/p3HGyXa0mjM

Winter Poem by Nikki Giovanni 

once a snowflake fell

on my brow and i loved

it so much and i kissed

it and it was happy and called its cousins

and brothers and a web

of snow engulfed me then

i reached to love them all

and i squeezed them and they became

a spring rain and i stood perfectly

still and was a flower

— Author and poet Nikki Giovanni

From “The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni”

And last but not least in this journey of dreams…a short animation.

http://youtu.be/e-sj8_UvD2A