Honestly, Abe Survived!

What if the headlines the morning after John Wilkes Booth pulled his pistol on Abraham Lincoln read “Assassination Attempt Narrowly Thwarted”? In his latest piece, Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray, New York choreographer Bill T. Jones asks us to imagine how the story of the United States might have turned out had Lincoln survived to oversee Reconstruction. If that seems like a daunting topic to tackle with dance, welcome to the creative mind of Bill T. Jones. Ever looking to capture the evolution of social consciousness through moving bodies, Jones has outdone himself with Fondly, by far the most ambitious project in his company’s history. Boasting an interactive set of columns and curtains manipulated by the dancers, which double as video projection surfaces, the work isolates key moments in Lincoln’s life and draws on text pulled from his personal writings. Jones developed the piece in an attempt to reconcile his boyhood perception of Lincoln as “the only white man he was allowed to love unconditionally” with the multifaceted man history has revealed him to be. Commissioned in honor of Lincoln’s bicentennial, Fondly also marks the 25th anniversary of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, making it a milestone of note for local fans.
Oct. 1-3, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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