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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

2010 Kennedy Center Honors Watch: Jones

By Jacqueline Trescott
Bill T. Jones. (AP)

The Washington Post arts staff has been keeping a close eye on the doings of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honorees. This weekend Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman, Bill T. Jones, Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey will be saluted.

Full conversations with the five stars will appear In this Sunday's Arts & Style section.

When dance critic Sarah Kaufman sat down with choreographer Jones, he didn't hesitate to tell her what he thought of the popular television shows with the centerpiece, but not art, of dance.

"I am deeply conflicted," Jones said.

"I agree with my friends who say, any show that can get millions of people to watch the way people handle each other, the way a foot sits on the floor, is good for dance.

"But I don't see dance as a sport that is rated or scored. It's not a contest. It offends what I love about dance most, which is that you can be your own measure. Imagine judging who is the best Trisha Brown. What would the criteria be? And who would you compare her to, John Jasperse, Mark Morris? Who has the best overall quality? No. It doesn't work that way in that world."

And Jones also expressed some concerns about what his dance troupe, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, would do as they take the floor of the Kennedy Center Opera House on Sunday.

"There's been a discourse that we have been through in the dance world for the past 60 years, or even further if you go all the way back to Isadora [Duncan], a discourse about the body, the human condition, about gravity, about looking. So when they say, 'We're going to do a dance number now,' what is that? Is it even possible to do a dance as I was taught dance was, this thing about people in real time, real space, being viewed by other people in real time. Is it really possible to call that dance, when it's broadcast? Well, we have to now, that's the world we live in."

More on this story:

By Jacqueline Trescott  | December 2, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Dance, Jacqueline Trescott, Kennedy Center  | Tags:  Bill T. Jones, Sarah Kaufman, kennedy center honors  
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