Bill T. Jones: A Good Man


  • A Community of People Now | American Masters: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man

    In this segment from the documentary American Masters: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, the creative process continues for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in the creation of a dance-theater piece about Abraham Lincoln. Bill T. Jones notes the current trend of artists creating work independent of the restrictions of previous generations. In an effort to advance the performance while mirroring the trend, Jones decides to take away some of the focus from the Lincoln family story to include the personal stories of dancers within the company.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Abraham Lincoln: A Good Man? or A Good Man!

    In this lesson, students use video from American Masters: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man along with primary sources to investigate the life of Lincoln and write a one page argument essay on whether Lincoln was "a good man."

    Grades: 9-12
  • Bodies Move

    In this video from the documentary American Masters: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company has been commissioned by the Ravinia Festival in Chicago to create a dance performance celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. While Bill T. Jones decides that Paul, a dancer within the ensemble, will represent the “dancing” body of Lincoln, he also ponders an approach to the development of the performance piece as a non-narrative series of ideas.

    Grades: 9-12
  • What Does He Have to Say to Us Today?

    In this video segment from the documentary American Masters: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, Bill T. Jones and his Associate Artistic Director, Janet Wong, turn to primary texts to learn more about Abraham Lincoln. In an effort to make Lincoln relevant in the performance piece, Jones and Wong begin their research but along the way discover surprising attitudes, ideas and statements reflective of the controversies that exist around Lincoln today.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Cutting Room Floor

    This video demystifies the film editing process as producers and editors discuss edits to the documentary American Masters: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man. The film chronicles Bill T. Jones creating Fondly Do We Hope, Fervently Do We Pray, a dance performance commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday. As the post-production process evolves, the filmmakers confront the same challenge Jones faced: should they include a reference to "snakes in bed," a metaphor Lincoln used to illustrate his views on slavery in the new territories, or should it end up on the cutting room floor.

    Grades: 9-12

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