Embodying the undiscussable: Documentary methodology in Bill T. Jones's Still/Here and the culture wars
Abstract:In 1994 Bill T. Jones premiered a new dance work, Still/Here, that placed onstage the images and gestures of terminally ill people who had participated in workshops he had led previously. Arlene Croce, then the dance critic for The New Yorker, reviewed the work even though she famously refused to attend the performance. In her review she chastised Jones for creating 'victim art' out of his own and others' experiences of illness. The publication of Croce's review raised several questions about the role of dance criticism, the clash of 'high' and 'low' cultures, voyeurism and spectatorship, and the limits of representation in dance. This article argues that Jones's work and Croce's response to it can be understood through the lens of documentary theatre methods and theories. Moreover, articulating the intersection of dance and documentary practices directly addresses Croce and Jones's conflict over the use of the 'real' in 'art'.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Pittsburgh
Publication date: January 20, 2012
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