Bill T. Jones

The Table Project

The intimately-scaled work The Table Project was commissioned by the Walker Art Center in 2001 and received its world premiere in the shared Walker/Guthrie Theater lobby as part of its monthly Free First Saturday program. While in residence, Jones and his namesake dance company developed and finalized this new piece, and also presented his new evening-length work, You Walk? (at Northrop Auditorium), took part in a Talking Dance evening with curator Philip Bither, oversaw the Anderson Window Gallery exhibition Bill T. Jones: Artist-in-Residence, and taught beginning movement workshops for aspiring dancers.

An eight-minute dance for six people, set to a live performance of Franz Schubert's Trio in E-flat Major op. 148 Notturno (performed live by Minneapolis’ Bakken Trio), The Table Project explored the conventions and expectations built around age and gender, consisting of the same movements performed four times consecutively by community members, first a group of men aged fifty to sixty-five, then by a group of girls aged eight to eleven, then boys, and finally by older women. After a long recruitment process, twenty-nine local “nonperformers” were selected to take part in the work, rehearsing for several weeks in order to master the simple movements, yet delicate timing required. The structure itself was designed by Creative Director and sculptor Bjorn Amelan, and built on-site by Walker crews.

Stepping hand-in-hand up and over the surface of the table, the performers’ movements were marked by a guileless innocence, its repetitiveness almost a meditation, allowing ample room for a consideration of the ideas behind the work and a clear-eyed view of the individuals enacting the story. The touching performance became a new vehicle by which Jones and his company could involve communities with their work while on tour. . . .

Artist's Statement

“I’ve been attracted to Schubert’s Piano Trio for some time because of its bold yet concise structure with an inevitable sense of sweep with moods ranging from introspective, pathetic to majestic. I would like to create a distilled iconographic event within the...


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Biographical Information

American, b. 1952
A courageous, at times conflicted, choreographer, Bill T. Jones has deftly balanced social/political concerns with abstract work of formal beauty and complexity. Together with partner Arnie Zane, he helped introduce elements now common in contemporary dance: partnering between men; the casting of...