I was present for the second part of Bill T. Jones' trilogy, an oral history/dance performance/musical homage to Bill's nephew Lance Briggs. Lance was about to embark on a promising dance career when he got sidetracked by drugs and male prostitution. Later, he was mysteriously became paralyzed from the waist down and is now in a wheelchair.
Lance, the artist, was in the audience that night of the performance and gave a moving testimony after the performance, during a question and answer period with the company.
What a powerful performance. I would have gone a second night if I could have. Bill T. Jones is a national treasure and has impacted audiences worldwide. His Friday night presentation really impacted me and I stayed up late reading about his long career and many honors (including the National Medal of the Arts). I'm surprised I hadn't heard of him before, but that's what 30 plus years away from dance will do.
After church today, I took a long walk around "the wall." It took me an hour, and I ran into my teacher, Shayla, outside Whole Foods. During the conversation, it came up that she apprenticed with Jones. Not only that, she's from Roanoke, and graduated from Hollins. Small world indeed.
I want to write a poetic tribute to Bill called: "Go Tell the World," about his many gifts. He was one of 12 children and moved with his parents from Florida to New York as part of the "Great Migration." Born to dance apparently, because his performaces are unforgettable.