Bill T. Jones: Dance Reality Shows Are ‘Obscene'
The dance world iconoclast and Tony-winning choreographer says reality television turns dance into "sport."
BEVERLY HILLS -- Tony winning choreographer and dance world iconoclast Bill T. Jones may have appeared on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. But he’s no fan of the dance reality television genre.
“You know, I don’t like those shows,” he told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour.
Viewers will get an inside look at Jones’ creative process in the PBS American Masters documentary Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, about the making of the Abraham Lincoln stage homage Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray.
Jones admitted that he's nervous about the documentary. "I’m concerned because I have people that don’t like me," he said. "And this will be fodder for them to take cheap shots."
And his outspoken and unabashed personality was on full display for the media gathered at the Beverly Hilton for a question and answer session with Jones and the producers of the American Masters film.
He did offer that colleagues in the dance world tell him that series like Fox's So You Think You Can Dance? exposes dance – an imperiled art form especially in a recession – to the masses.
Said Jones: “That’s good for dance, people say. But it’s not good that dance is sport. It is not sport. It is a subtle art form.”
Reality television, continued Jones, perverts that art form. What if there was a show called So You Think You’re Picasso?
“When it’s all souped up, so you can grade it, rate it...,” said Jones. “Imagine that we’re going to do a program [where] everybody is going to paint a canvass tonight? You would think we were crazy.”
Jones grudgingly acknowledged that the dance reality trend may be a “mixed blessing.”
But he offered an unequivocal final word: “I find them sometimes obscene.”