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Posts from the ‘Bill T. Jones’ Category

Bill T. Jones Debuts “Analogy Trilogy: Ambros: The Emigrant”

Three years ago I wrote about the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company’s plans to develop a dance around the Ambros Adelwarth segment of W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants. “Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant” just had its world premiere on July 21, 2017 at Dancer’s Workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The dance is the final section of a trilogy which was first performed as a unit on the nights of July 27-29 at American Dance Festival 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. There is a 9 1/2 minute interview with Bill T. Jones on the dance on Soundcloud. The 90-minute dance  was reviewed by Susan Broili in the Raleigh, North Carolina newspaper The News & Observer, in which the following excerpt appeared:

“Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant” begins with the live sound of whispering voices and Bill T. Jones’ recorded recitation of evocative text from W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants, a fictionalized history of four men, including Ambros Adelwarth, a German manservant who serves as companion to Cosmo, the privileged son of a wealthy Jewish family. The narrative tracks Ambros’ experience traveling with Cosmo, through Europe and the Middle East on the eve of WWII.

The recorded text describes how Ambros Adelwarth and his charge, Cosmo, asleep on the deck of a steam ship on their way to an excursion abroad, are visited by a quail, who lands on Cosmo, settles down to sleep, and then flies away in the morning.

 In this work, Jones and collaborators, who include assistant artistic director Janet Wong, amaze with their scope and with the engaging quality of the multi-media elements woven seamlessly into the work.

The live music provides a rare treat as does the dancers’ singing with professional flare. Most of the time, their singing, both in solos and in harmony with others, is achingly beautiful.

The following is from the dance’s program as posted on the ADF website.

ANALOGY/AMBROS: THE EMIGRANT (2017)
Conceived and Directed by Bill T. Jones.
Choreography by Bill T. Jones with Janet Wong and the Company.
Text based on “Ambros Adelwarth” from The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald, performed with the permission of The Wylie Agency, LLC. All rights reserved.
Written by Bill T. Jones and Adrian Silver.
Original Score Composed by Nick Hallett.
Music Performed by Nick Hallett and Emily Manzo.
Décor by Bjorn Amelan.
Lighting Design by Robert Wierzel.
Costume Design by Liz Prince.
Video Design by Janet Wong.
Sound Design by Sam Crawford.
Dramaturgy by Adrian Silver.

Score includes musical themes based upon “Nachtstück” by Franz Schubert and :Alinde” by Franz Schubert.
Guitars recorded by Sam Crawford and Zach Layton.
Recorded strings performed by Pauline Kim Harris (violin) and Clarice Jensen (cello).

PROGRAM NOTES
The Analogy Trilogy, which Bill T. Jones has been working on since 2013 with Janet Wong and the company, continues the company’s exploration of how text, storytelling, and movement pull and push against one other and how another experience can be had through the combination and recombination of these elements. All three works, while wildly different, consider the nature of  service, duty, and the question of what is a life well lived. Director’s Note – Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant

“Memory, often strikes me as a kind of dumbness. It makes one’s head heavy and giddy, as if one were not looking back down the receding perspectives of time but rather down on the earth from a great height, from one of those towers whose tops are lost to view in the clouds.”
–W.G. Sebald

I found two future performances of “Analogy/Ambros:The Emigrant”: November 18, 2017, Gammage Auditorium, Arizona State University, Tempe. February 3, 2018, Meany Center for the Performing Arts, University of Washington, Seattle.

 

Photo: Paul B. Goode

“Ambros Adelwarth” as Contemporary Dance

Analogy

The fabulous Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is currently working on a major new dance called Analogy, which involves using W.G. Sebald’s story of Ambros Adelwarth from The Emigrants as part of the program. Here’s the official description from the company’s website.

Analogy (working title) is the Company’s newest creation, currently in development. Bill T. Jones, along with Janet Wong (Associate Artistic Director of the Company) and the Company dancers, are developing a new evening-length work in two parts, focusing on the memory and the effect that powerful events have on the actions of individuals and-more importantly-on their often unexpressed inner life. In Analogy (working title), Jones continues to explore the intermingling of text, storytelling and movement, paying special attention to how new experiences can be had through the coalescing of these elements. Informing the work are two literary sources-an interview conducted by Jones with Dora Amelan (a French-Jewish nurse and social worker) chronicling her life experiences, as well as the story of Ambros Adelwarth, from W.G. Sebald’s celebrated historical novel, The Emigrants – that ruminate on the nature of service and duty, and inquire into the characteristics of a life well lived.

Some portion of the dance was presented last month at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. But now the company has moved on to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  In the local Jackson Hole newspaper, reporter Frances Moody reveals a bit more about plans for using the Sebald story in the dance. Here are some excerpts.

Analogy is in its beginning steps…In Jackson the company will focus on the first half of “Analogy.” Based on an interview Jones conducted with World War II survivor Dora Amelan, the dancers will present Amelan’s account of the Holocaust… “We want to be very sure we are not making this piece about the Holocaust,” Wong said. “We want it to be about this brave, amazing young woman who had a particular view and perspective, a woman who is now 94 years old….”

The second part of Analogy also highlights memory with Sebald’s account of Ambros Adelwarth. In The Emigrants, Adelwarth’s story begins in World War I America and ends in Jerusalem. What appears to be a captivating adventure is something Adelwarth wanted to forget. “He was almost killed by his own memories,” Wong said. “He was someone who could not bear remembering. By the time everyone had died off he had nothing else to live for. He would subject himself to electroshock therapy that killed him.”

After its residency the company will have almost a year to complete the work. Jones and his dancers will return to Jackson in June of 2015 to show the final piece.

Probably the best way to stay up-to-date on the progress of Analogy is through the dance company’s Facebook page or its Twitter feed. There is also a Tumblr site specifically for this project, with a few photographs and numerous video clips.