Archive for the ‘Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’ Category

Bill T. Jones with a portrait of Lincoln/Photo courtesy Kartemquin Flims

Bill T. Jones is one of the most important choreographers of the postmodern era in part because he’s willing to ask big questions. In Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray, his 2009 commission from the Ravinia Festival, he raises the issue of Abraham Lincoln’s “goodness” as well as that of his own – all of ours, for that matter.

The PBS documentary series American Masters uses the elaborate dance-theater production to examine Jones’ point of view, style and intentions. Bill T. Jones: A Good Man makes its television premiere Friday, locally at 8 p.m. on KERA-Channel 13. Back in the summer, I reviewed the film for The Dallas Morning News when it screened at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Here’s the article, originally published on July 14:

Bill T. Jones knows he’s a potential dinner story for anyone who spends time with the self-described pushy, prosecutorial choreographer. “Grace is for the saints,” he says near the end of A Good Man, a penetrating documentary that traces Jones’ contentious creation of a multimedia dance work about Abraham Lincoln as a window into his driven, questioning artistic process. “There’s a fire every day. There is no easing up.”

In a sneak preview ahead of its November premiere on the PBS series, American Masters, the film screens Sunday at 2 p.m. as part of the Modern Dance Festival at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Bob Hercules, who directed A Good Man with Gordon Quinn, will participate in a Q&A afterward.

Because dance is inherently collaborative, Jones’ visionary zeal depends on others seeing it his way. This leads to confrontations with his dancers and the music composer for Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray, a commission by the Ravinia Festival to mark Lincoln’s bicentennial birthday. “Sometimes I wake up, and I think, ‘You’re not big enough to deal with Lincoln,’ ” Jones says.

But these doubts only fuel his outsized ambitions. Lincoln was the only white man he was allowed to love unconditionally growing up the son of black potato pickers. His research turns up a more complicated picture of the 16th president. “The ‘good man’ – what does he have to say to us today?” Jones asks in his typically interrogatory style. “Are we good people? Am I a good man?”

Scenes from 'Fondly Do We Hope...Fervently Do We Pray'/Photos by Paul Goode

Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth in Modern Art Museum Grand Lobby

 UPDATE: My review of CD/FW Dance Exchange: A Choreographers Showcase, which took over the museum lobby Friday and Saturday night, is in today’s Dallas Morning News. Link here.

Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth was born 20 years ago in a modern dance-less Cowtown and ever since has put on performance seasons and acted as a community educator without ever losing money. Founded by Kerry Kreiman, who is executive and artistic director, and Susan Douglas Roberts, now artistic adviser, CD/FW struck up a relationship with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth as the museum’s new building was under construction in 2002.

Since 2004, the two organizations have collaborated on an annual Modern Dance Festival at the Modern. It kicks off its eighth year Friday evening with an expanded film component, Modern Film Fest 2011, and a choreographers showcase that includes premieres by four company members and visiting artists from Denton (Mary Lynn Babcock/Satellite-Dance Company), Houston (john r. stronks/”there…in the sunlight” Contemporary Dance) and Chicago (Lonny Joseph Gordon of Winifred Haun & Dancers and GORDONDANCE). The showcase program will be performed again in the Grand Lobby on Saturday night.

Here’s my preview in The Dallas Morning News. After the jump my story about CD/FW and Ewert & Company from last year.

The festival runs through July 24 and includes three performances of The Palace at Night by New Mexico’s Project IN Motion on the reflecting pool lawn; four shows of The Butterfly Effect and Other Beautiful Catastrophes, a collaboration between Kreiman, composer William H. Meadows and the CD/FW dancers, in the lobby; two programs of award-winning shorts from the Dance on Camera Festival and seven feature-length dance films in the auditorium; a special lecture-film screening by choreographer Shelley Cushman on the theme of Cinematic Caricatures; and a lecture on modern dance and aerial dance. Complete schedule here and here.

Lonny Joseph Gordon/Photo by Tom Morrow

Ann Bishop of Project IN Motion in "The Palace at Night"/Photo by Steve MacIntyre

CD/FW on catwalk at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth/Photo by Milton Adams

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