Bill T. Jones, the artistic director of New York Live Arts, will receive the 2016 International Humanities Medal on September 29 at Washington University in St. Louis. The award recognizes the lifetime work of a noted scholar, writer, or artist who has made a significant and sustained contribution to the world of letters or arts. The award comes with a $25,000 prize.
Paige McGinley, assistant professor of performing arts at Washington University, stated that “Bill T. Jones is without question one of our greatest living choreographers. So much more than a social comment ‘about’ sexuality, blackness, or AIDS, Jones’ dances marry a formally brilliant movement vocabulary to images, texts and sounds. The resulting works push audiences to rethink the relationship between the intimate and the political, between bodies and histories.”
Jones was born in Florida and raised in Upstate New York. He became interested in dance while a student at Binghamton University of the State University of New York System. In 1982, he and his partner launched the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Jones has choreographed more than 140 dances for the company.
In addition Jones has won two Tony Awards and the Lillian Gish Prize. His memoir is entitled Last Night on Earth (Pantheon, 1995).