Bill T. Jones strikes again at New York Live Arts

At New York Live Arts, Bill T. Jones causes a disruption in Luciana Achugar's OTRO TEATRO

Luciana Achugar

Luciana Achugar

In Luciana Achugar’s epic homage to desire, OTRO TEATRO, dancers—who mix with the audience for much of the work—create the score with moans, sighs and wails. On Thursday night at New York Live Arts, one voice sounded awfully familiar: that of choreographer Bill T. Jones, the executive artistic director of NYLA, who was watching from the back. Apparently, his unwarranted audience participation worked Achugar’s last nerve; during the performance, she marched up the theater’s stairs and hissed, “It’s your theater; it’s not your fucking piece!” She muttered a few motherfuckers and then resumed moaning herself.

This isn’t the first uncomfortable situation to arise with Jones in recent days. In her InfiniteBody post, “How about a little less Bill?,” Eva Yaa Asantewaa documents, disturbingly, a “Bill Chats” discussion that Jones moderated in March. For “When did the avant-garde become black?” Jones turned a serious panel into a performance, acting, as Asantewaa points out, “showy and rude.” She adds: “Cryptic shout-outs to the soon-departing Carla Peterson—‘I'm doing it right now, Carla!’—sound just ill-tempered. These behaviors don't actually advance discussion of complex issues.”

No, they don’t—but they sure indicate what Peterson, NYLA’s artistic director under Jones, has been going through. Recently, she announced plans to leave the NYLA to direct the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University. It’s got to be bad when you’d rather live in Tallahassee, Florida, than endure another day trying to run an arts institution with Jones.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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